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Common chicory, Cichorium intybus, is a bushy perennial herbaceous plant with blue, lavender, or occasionally white flowers. Growing wild as a plant on roadsides, Chicory has numerous uses when grown commercially. Blue Chicory has a fabulous deep blue flower, and is a wonderful plant in its own right.
Various varieties are cultivated for salad leaves, chicons (blanched buds), or for roots (var. sativum), which are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and additive. It is also grown as a crop for livestock.
Growing to 1.5m tall, this hardy plant prefers rich but well-drained soil, preferably in an open, sunny position. Seed sown indoors in spring and then planted out (preferably with some support e.g. trellis/fencing) will provide the best start, allowing the beautiful clear blue flowers to shine in mid-simmer and autumn.
"Chicory" is also the common name in the United States for curly endive (Cichorium endivia), and these two closely related species are often confused.