Cichorium – Chicory – Endive –
There are about 8 species of annuals and perennials, in this genus. They occur from dry, sunny sites in Europe, the Mediterranean, temperate Western Asia and Northern Africa. They have large, variably basal tufts of toothed or pinnatifid, mid green leaves, milky sap and stems that branch at flowering to bear numerous thistle or dandelion like, usually blue occasionally pink or white flowers, which close by midday. Cultivates forms including the salad greens radicchio and Belgian endive, chicory root is often used as a coffee substitute. Contact with all parts of the plants may irritate skin or aggravate skin allergies.
Grow in fertile, well drained but moisture retentive soil in full sun.
Prone to bacterial soft rot, bacterial spot, powdery mildew, rust, leaf spot, damping off, southern blight, slugs, and a variety of virus.
C. intybus – Witloof – Radicchio – This clump forming perennial from the Mediterranean and widely naturalized in North America grows 4′ feet tall and half as wide. It has a large taproot and inversely lance shaped, curled or deeply toothed, basal leaves, 3-12″ long which have a strong red or purple tones. In summer, branched stems bear dandelion like, terminal ans axillary, clear blue occasionally white or pink flowers, to 1 ½” across. Best known as a coffee substitute, roots being roasted.