In grassy fields that slope to the sea, you may be sure to find the beautiful, pale blue flowered Chicory at its best. It fairly continues the colour scheme of sky and water, and on bright, sunshiny mornings, when everything is still sparkling with dew, it lends a rare and irresistible fascination to the scene. And like most lovely flowers, it seems to inspire the beholder with a keen sense of gratitude and reverence for the glorious privilege of living with it, which, in this work-a-day world, is altogether too often obscured by those who allow themselves to become unnecessarily house bound. Chicory, however, is probably better known as a substitute or an adulterant for coffee, to which it is added to give colour and body. The leaves, when young and tender, make an excellent salad, which is much in favour in France. They are also used as a pot herb. The smaller roots are occasionally boiled, and served like carrots and parsnips. Chicory was extensively used as a food by the ancient Egyptians, and it was known to Virgil and Horace nearly two thousand years ago. It is an erect, branching, perennial herb, with a long, deep, fleshy tap-root, and grows from one to three feet high. The large, rigid, angular stalk is grooved, hairy, and rather scrawly. The basal leaves slightly resemble those of the Dandelion or Thistle, to which the plant is related. They are sharply cut, and are narrowed into long stems and spread along the ground. The upper ones are very much smaller, lance-shaped or oblong, lobed and entire, and clasp the stalk. The very exquisite, showy, wheel-like blossoms are of a delicate, bright grayish blue, rarely white, or sometimes tinged with purple, and are scattered along the nearly naked stalk, at short intervals, in twos or threes, for a considerable portion of its length. They are set closely and vertically against the stalk, amid several short, spreading leaflets, or occasionally they terminate short, stout, branch-like stems. The florets are strap-shaped rays with noticeable square, ragged, five-toothed ends, and are arranged in several spreading circles which radiate from a flat, leafy green cup. The arrow-shaped anthers are loosely clustered toward the centre of the head. The flowers have a very faint odour, and the green buds are tinted with purple. They open only in the sunshine, and close at the noon hour. They blossom from July to October, in fields and along roadsides, from Nova Scotia to Minnesota, North Carolina, Nebraska and Missouri.
CHICORY. BLUE SAILORS. Cichorium Intybus.