Common chicory (Cichorium intybus) is a bushy perennial herb with blue or lavender flowers. It is originally from the Old World and was naturalized in North America, where it has become a roadside weed. The roots are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and additive in the plant's Mediterranean region of origin, although its use as a coffee additive is still very popular in the American south, particularly in New Orleans. Common chicory is also known as blue sailors, succory, and coffeeweed. The plant is cultivated and used as endive under the common names radicchio, Belgian endive, French endive, or witloof. It is grown in complete darkness to keep new leaves tender and pale.
True endive (Cichorium endivia) is a species of chicory which is specially grown and used as a salad green. It has a slightly bitter taste and has been attributed with herbal properties. Curly endive and the broad-leafed escarole are true endives.
Cichorium is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Setaceous Hebrew Character and Turnip Moth.
Root chicory (Chicorium intybus var. sativum ) has been grown since the Middle Ages as a
Chicory, with sugar beet and rye was used as an ingredient of the East German Mischkafee (mixed coffee), introduced during the 'coffee crisis' of 1976-9
Symbolism and popular references
The chicory flower is often seen as inspiration for the Romantic concept of the Blue Flower.
Other useful herb information: Panax | Dong Quai | Activated Charcoal | Red Raspberry | Watercress | Bromelain | Red Yeast Rice
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