Chicory, Road Aster
Cichorium intybus L. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species. The genus and species were both named and described by Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753. Cichorium intybus subsp. spicatum is the only accepted infraspecific name listed on Plants of the World Online. There are 29 synonyms of this species.
Plants of the World Online by Kew currently list six accepted species in the Cichorium genus. They list 29 synonyms of this species (other scientific names given to the same plant). These numbers were correct, according to Kew, on 8-23-19 when I am writing this page. Ummm… Those numbers could change.
For more detailed information about this plant, please refer to the links at the bottom of the page.
There are quite a few Cichorium intybus, commonly known as Chicory or Road Aster, growing in the pasture, and along the highways and back roads. If you have ever been driving down the highway or a back road and wondered what the blue flowers were, this is probably what they are. It is one of the many members of the Asteraceae Family along with Dandelions.
Other common names include Blue Daisy, Blue Dandelion, Blue Sailors, Blue Weed, Bunk, Coffeeweed, Cornflower, Hendibeh, Horseweed, Ragged Sailors, Succory, Wild Bachelor’s Buttons, and Wild Endive.
The rosette of the young plants look very similar to Dandelions but are usually somewhat reddish. I want to give special thanks to Pamela Trewath of the Missouri State University for allowing me to share photos from the Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers website.
After a while, their rosettes become fairly large and the flowering stems begin to emerge. Flowering stems can grow to around 36″ tall, give or take.
The Wikipedia says the roots of the Cichorium intybus var. sativum are ground, baked, and used as a coffee substitute. It is also closely related to Cichorium endivia which is also called Chicory and Curly Endive which is popular in salads.
An extract from the root of Cichorium intybus, inulin, is used as a sweetener and a source of dietary fiber.
Some information says that their flowers are only open in the morning but I took these photos in the afternoon. In fact, I don’t remember ever seeing their flowers closed but I am not always paying attention. I have been surprised at how many flowers of various species of plants do close in the afternoon and evening. Pretty annoying when you have to go back and re-take photos or only have time in the late afternoon or early evening.
The stems contain a milky sap similar to species of the Euphorbiaceae Family. Ummm… The stems kind of remind me of Euphorbia tirucalli.
Making a positive ID by the flowers is very easy, however, the color can be “variable”. I have seen flowers that were darker blue and so light they almost appeared white, as well as blue and white bi-color. Some information online suggests they can also be pink but that is quite rare.
The USDA Plants Database shows Cichorium intybus can be found in every state in the U.S. although it considered a native of Europe. Ummm… They can be found in “almost” every country in the world now.
Cichorium intybus is a very important medicinal plant. The link below to PumMed Central is very informative.
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. I have grown over 500 different plants and most have pages listed on the right side of the blog. I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a horticulturalist I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at email@example.com. I would enjoy hearing from you.
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN
*MSU-MIDWEST WEEDS AND WILDFLOWERS*
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
KANSAS WILDFLOWERS AND GRASSES
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN
*PumMed Central ® is a free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine.