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Chicory is a perennial herbaceous plant with a blue or lavender flower. Its leaves are tastiest in the spring and autumn as the summer heat tends to make them taste a little bitter – but they are still edible. Toss them in a salad but before doing so, blanch them. They can be mixed with other greens to minimize their strong flavor. The mature green leaves can be used as a cooked vegetable.
Distinguishing Features: Chicory is a branching, scraggly-looking plant. It often stands out alone in gravel areas, or open weedy fields and the flowers only open on a sunny day.
Flowers: The flowers are 2 to 4 cm. wide and are usually a bright, light blue. There are two rows of involucral bracts - the inner are longer and erect, the outer are shorter and spreading. Chicory flowers from July until October.
Leaves: At the base leaves resemble dandelion leaves then alternately spaced and much smaller as they get higher up on the stem.
Height: When full grown, chicory can reach heights that vary between 90 and 180 cm.
Habitat: Open areas, roadsides, grassy areas near parking lots, and 'weedy' fields all over Ontario and most of Canada and the U.S.
Edible parts: Leaves and root. Although the flower is edible, it is very bitter.
For more in-depth information (e.g. nutrition, medicinal values, recipes, historical information, harvesting tips, etc.) please check out our Chicory PDF magazine.
EdibleWildFood.com is informational in nature. While we strive to be 100% accurate, it is solely up to the reader to ensure proper plant identification. Some wild plants are poisonous or can have serious adverse health effects.
We are not health professionals, medical doctors, nor are we nutritionists. It is up to the reader to verify nutritional information and health benefits with qualified professionals for all edible plants listed in this web site. Please click here for more information.