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Wild Chicory

Cichorium intybus

Wild Succory, Hendibeh, Barbe de Capucin, Watcher of the Road, Blue Sailor Weed, Chicory, Blue sailors, Blue dandelion, Bunk, Coffee weed, French endive, Succory, Witloof, Whitloof

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An upright plant with beautiful bright blue flowers. Chicory is thought to have been cultivated as a food plant since about 300 BC, and is still today enjoyed throughout the culinary world. It is best known for being a substitute or additive to coffee. A highly ornamental, but invasive, plant it can be enjoyed in various temperate and cold climate gardens not only for its edible qualities but also for its medicinal applications.

Planning

Difficulty
Moderate
Flowering time
Summer
Fruiting time
Summer

Harvesting

The leaves should be harvested while the leaves are young and tender. If the plants are being grown for their roots then they should be pulled from the soil just before the last frost date. The leaves should be trimmed to about 2.5 cm from the crown and the roots should be trimmed to a uniform size.

Propagation

Seed
Sow in Spring and space plants 20-30 cm apart. Germination time is 8-14 days.

Special features

Attracts useful insects
Attracts insects such as bees.
Pot plant
Can grow in large containers which can hold its extensive root systems, and provided it is given enough sunlight and good drainage holes.

Geography

Origin
Europe
Natural climate
Temperate

Environment

Light
Full Sun
Soil moisture
Wet
Soil type
Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Frost hardiness
Hardy

Uses

Medicinal
A treatment for gallstones, gastro-enteritis, sinus problems and cuts and bruises, increases absorption of calcium and other minerals. Well known for its toxicity to internal parasites.
Edible
The flowers, leaves and roots are used for salad, baked, ground and used as a coffee substitute and additive. Also grown as food for livestock. The roots are stored in sand to give white leaves.
Notes
Culinary, medicinal

Personality

Family
Asteraceae
Flower colour
Blue
Scent
None

Problems

Pests include aphids (Green peach aphid, Lettuce aphid, Plum aphid), darkling beetles, flea beetles, loopers (Cabbage looper, Alfalfa looper), slugs & snails and thrips. Diseases include anthracnose, bacteral soft rot, bottom rot, damping-off, downy mildew, fusarium wilt, septoria blight, and white mold.

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