Common Name(s):

    Blue Sailors

    Scientific Name:

    Cichorium intybus L.

    Scientific Name Synonyms:

    None Known




    Life Span: Biennial/Perennial 

    Origin: Introduced

    Growth Characteristics: A somewhat invasive plant that flowers late spring through the middle of fall.

    Flowers:  The flowers have numerous parts and are up to 1.5 inches wide. They are light blue normally, but sometimes are white or pink. The rays have toothed lips. The flowers open and close daily.

    Fruits/Seeds: Fruit is seed-like, with tiny scales at the tip.

    Leaves: Alternate, irregularly toothed and lobed. Basal leaves in a rosette, toothed, large and spreading. Lower leaves thickly covered with hairs. Base of leaves clasps stems. 

    Stems: Thick and strong, glabrous to bristly, 2 to 6 feet tall. The stems are very irregularly branched, are twig-like, and contain a milky sap.

    Roots: A deep taproot.

    Ecological Adaptions:

    Often found in fields, along fencerows, and in waste places. The deep taproot enables it to grow in hard packed, rocky ground.  It is drought tolerant, and can be invasive. It is listed as a noxious weed in Colorado.

    Soils: Prefers well-drained soils, but can grow on a wide variety of soils.

    Associated Species: Orchardgrass, cheatgrass, Curlycup Gumweed

    Uses and Management:

    Chicory was introduced as a pasture forage plant, but was found too course to be an effective pasture plant. 

    The very young leaves can be eaten fresh in salads and the older, bitter leaves can be boiled in several waters and eaten. The best known use of this plant is as a coffee additive or substitute. The roots are roasted and ground to make chicory coffee which has no caffeine.