The Short Story of Chicory
Nice, Weed Diagnostician, Dept of Botany & Plant Pathology, Purdue
Spring is in the air! So I felt it fitting to seek out images
that reminded me of summer. One thing that reminds me of summer
is chicory, well and wood ticks, but I will let the entomologists
cover that one. Although not quite in the realm of the weed,
chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) can often be found standing
on the side of the road waving its blue flowers at us as we rush
past. In fact it can often be found in the oddest places, for
instance growing out of cracks in the concrete in urban areas. It
is always impressive to see its bright blue flowers beside your car
when waiting at a red light. It can also find its way into
pastures and turf grass.
also known as succor, blue sailors, blue daisy, bunk and coffee-weed
, is a perennial that can resemble dandelion when in a basal
two are in the same family and both have a milky sap. This sap can be
an irritant to individuals that are sensitive. When the plant produces
flowering stems they are erect and hollow with alternate lanceolate leaves. The
flowering stems can give the impression that they may be leafless,
but those flowers are a giveaway.
appear from late June to October. In Indiana, they are most often blue. The
flowers are also reported to be pink, purple, or white . The
ray flowers, that which gives chicory its color, all have apex
that appear tattered looking due to distinctive serrations.
has a history being a useful plant. The leaves have been eaten, but warning
is given that, like dandelion, young leaves be used . The roots are
used before the plant blooms, sometimes eaten fresh or boiled. The ground
roots are still used as seasoning . Chicory has been reported to have
been used for medicinal qualities [3,4]. However, chicory’s most
notable contribution is as an additive to coffee; hence the common name coffee-weed. It
may not be a surprise that Indiana has its share of chicory on our roadways,
for our Northerly neighbor, Michigan was reported to be one of the largest
producers of chicory at one time. In 1880, it was reported that over
14 million pounds of chicory was imported from Europe, but due to imposed tariffs
in the late 1900’s a grass roots production flourished. By
1899, 92% of the chicory was grown in Michigan equaling over 19
million pounds .
a pasture situation both Forefront at 32 to 42 fl oz/A or Cimarron
Max at 0.5 oz/A part A and 2 pt/A part B have excellent activity
on chicory. Curtail,
Stinger, Crossbow, and 2,4-D also have good activity.
1. Uva, R.H., J.C. Neal, and J.M. DiTomaso. Weeds of
the Northeast. Cornell University Press. p. 130.
2. Mitich, L.W. 1993. Chicory. Weed
3. Coon, N. 1974. The Dictionary of Useful Plants. Rodale
Press. p 106.
4. Stilgenbauer, F.A. 1931. Chicory: Michigan’s
Infant Monopoly Crop. Economic Geography. 7:84-100.
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