Cichorium intybus L. f. album Neum.

Cichorium intybus plant

Family - Asteraceae

Stems - To 1.5m tall, glabrous to sparsely strigose and scabrous, herbaceous, branching, erect, with milky sap, from a massive taproot.

Cichorium intybus rootRoot.

Leaves - Alternate. Basal leaves lyrate pinnatifid, resembling those of the genus Taraxacum, to +30cm long, +6cm wide, toothed, pubescent above and below, hirsute on midrib below. Cauline leaves lanceolate to linear, clasping, entire, much reduced.

Cichorium intybus basalsBasal rosette.

Cichorium intybus plant

Inflorescence - Typically 1-3 axillary flowers in upper portion of stems. Some flowers terminal. Lower flowers with reduced leaf(bract) subtending. Upper flowers with no bract or bract reduced and scalelike.

Involucre - Outer phyllaries 5-6mm long, acute, glabrous, +/-2mm broad, bulbous at base, green. Inner phyllaries to 1.1cm long, 2mm broad, linear, acute, typically with scarious margins and lacerate at apex, green.

Ray flowers - Ligule white, 5-toothed at apex, to -2cm long, 5-6mm broad, pubescent externally. Flowers fertile. Anthers pale-yellow to white, 4mm long, connate around style. Style white, bifurcate. Stigmas white. Achenes -2mm long in flower. Pappus of short scales. Receptacle flat.

Cichorium intybus plant

Disc flowers - Absent.

Flowering - May - October.

Habitat - Roadsides, railroads, disturbed sites, waste ground. Also cultivated.

Origin - Native to Eurasia.

Other info. - Chicory is an extremely common roadside weed. At the zoo we feed the plant to many of the animals as a treat. The flowers and leaves go great in salads. The root is used as a flavoring in coffee.
During the hot summer months the flowers only stay open a short time in the morning. As the days cool the flowers stay open nearly all day.
The typical flower color is blue. These blue-flowered plants are form intybus. You can see this form in the "Blue Flowers Alternate" section of this website.

Photographs taken off Prairie View Rd., Platte County, MO., 6-19-00.