Cichorium spinosum – Chicory – Endive –

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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. spinosum – This dwarf perennial with a woody rootstock from the Mediterranean grows 8″ tall and wide. From branching stems it carries long green spines bear inversely lance shaped, pinnatifid, glossy leaves, to 2″ long. In summer it bears thistle like blue flowers, to 3/4″ across, held singly or in few flowered terminal clusters. Best in an alpine house.

Zones 6-8