Cichorium intybus L.

Chicory, Road Aster

Cichorium intybus plant

Family - Asteraceae

Stems - To 1.5m tall, glabrous to sparsely strigose and scabrous, herbaceous, branching, erect, with milky sap, from a massive taproot.

Cichorium intybus stemStem.

Cichorium intybus rootRoot.

Leaves - Alternate. Basal leaves lyrate pinnatifid, resembling those of the genus Taraxacum, to +30cm long, +6cm wide, dentate, pubescent above and below, hirsute on midrib below. Cauline leaves lanceolate to linear, clasping, entire, much reduced.

Cichorium intybus leaves

Inflorescence - Typically 1-3 axillary flowers in upper portion of stems. Some flowers terminal. Lower flowers with reduced leaf(bract) subtending. Upper flowers with no bract or bract reduced and scalelike.

Involucre - Outer phyllaries 5-6mm long, acute, glabrous, +/-2mm broad, bulbous at base, green. Inner phyllaries to 1.1cm long, 2mm broad, linear, acute, typically with scarious margins and lacerate at apex, green.

Cichorium intybus involucreInvolucre.

Ray flowers - Ligule blue to lilac, 5-toothed at apex, to -2cm long, 5-6mm broad, pubescent externally. Flowers fertile. Anthers blue, 4mm long, connate around style. Style blue above, white below, bifurcate. Stigma blue. Achenes -2mm long in flower. Pappus of short scales. Receptacle flat.

Disc flowers - Absent.

Cichorium intybus flower

Flowering - May - October.

Habitat - Roadsides, railroads, disturbed sites, waste ground. Also cultivated.

Origin - Native to Eurasia.

Other info. - Chicory is an extremely common roadside weed. It is probably the most easily recognizable plant in the state because of its big blue flowers and roadside habitat. During the hot summer months the flowers only stay open a short time in the morning. As the days cool the flowers stay open nearly all day.
The plant shown above is form intybus, having the typical blue corolla. Form album Neum. has white corollas. A third form, form roseum Neum., has rose-colored corollas, but this plant is not yet spontaneous in this state.

Photographs taken in Eminence, MO., 6-27-03.