Cichorium intybus


This tough colonial perennial that ran wild is also spelled Chiccory and sometimes called Garden Chicory, Bald Chicory, Coffeeweed, Blue Sailors, Succory, (from succurrere Latin running {the roots} deeply under), or Wild Succory. The other variety, Endive gets its name from the Arabic, Hendibeh); and another nick is Barbe de Capucin. Other places' nominclature: Hinduba, Kasani or, Kasni. Chicorium, the common name is from Egyptian etymology. It is from the family Asteraceae (Aster) (was formerly in Daisies' family Compositae).

Chicory is a pilgrim to the North American continent because it was brought here by Europeans, where it originally thrived in the same roadside, dusty, sandy, summery conditions where it can be seen along highways for thousands upon thousands upon miles. Not hard to miss with its tall lanky green stalks bearing mostly blue, light to lavender, (rarely pink or white) dandelion-like flowers, that like to close before evening and open in the morning. It also has a tough taproot like the aforementioned plant. It has hairy leaves that point upward from the stem's axils. Sexually it is a hermaphrodite, and if you cut her/it/him it will bleed out that white latex like some other plants (dandelion, milkweed).

Chicory was brought here as a cheap substitute for coffee, thus that other nickname for it. The root is utilized for that purpose for replacing or supplanting good old java. One man's weed is another man's bounty, because it's not picky where it grows, though it seems to like the gritty soil in the full sunlight. It was cultivated in the old country, even by the Romans (Succory) another version, sativum, is prized for the root. Varieties such as the Curly Endive (Cichorium endivia), are grown especially by the French (Chicon) for their lettuce type leaves. Some of these might be known as: Belgian endive (White Gold), French endive, Red endive, Sugarloaf or Witloof (Dutch). The Italian Chicory is Radicchio, a bitter red veined leaf. The Puglian region of Greece uses the pungent leaves for a Fava bean recipe, Fave e Cicorie Selvatiche; cooking reduces the bitterness. Grown also elsewhere for animal fodder, using it for feed was for a time tried here in the mid eighteenth century. Nevertheless, it is not a significant crop in N. America, except maybe for herbalists who tout it as a tonic, a laxative and a diuretic. It is good for gout and gallstones, and can kill intestinal parasites. But, obviously one day, it ran away from the garden preferring to decorate the whole world.

Sources:

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/chicor61.html
http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Chicory
http://web.me.com/pierre.seba/Tilo_Botanica/Cichorium_intybus.html
http://www.bing.com/search?q=endive (blips here and there)

FloraQuest2011

Chic"o*ry (?), n. [F. chicorée, earlier also cichorée, L. cichorium, fr. Gr. &?;, &?;, Cf. Succory.]

1. (Bot.)

A branching perennial plant (Cichorium Intybus) with bright blue flowers, growing wild in Europe, Asia, and America; also cultivated for its roots and as a salad plant; succory; wild endive. See Endive.

2.

The root, which is roasted for mixing with coffee.

 

© Webster 1913

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