This section is from the book "Wayside And Woodland Blossoms", by Edward Step. Also available from Amazon: Wayside And Woodland Blossoms: A Guide To British Wild-Flowers.
The Wild Chicory is peculiarly a plant of the dry roadside, especially in chalky districts, where it is a striking feature. The rigid erectness of its stems is not pleasing, but the bright, pale-blue flowers, attached to the stem without the intervention of flower-stalks, arrest attention. Its thick, fleshy tap-root is the substance that, when roasted and ground, bulks so largely in "The finest French Coffees, as sold in Paris," of our grocers. For this purpose it is cultivated on a large scale in Germany and Belgium.
If reference be made to the figure of the Dandelion on page 20 it will be seen that there is considerable resemblance between the leaves of the two. The radical leaves of Chicory spread themselves out, rosette fashion, upon the ground; the few that are scattered alternately up the somewhat hairy stem clasp the latter with the two lobes at their base. The flowers are usually in pairs. The involucre consists of two series of bracts, the outer row being reflexed, and shorter than the inner. The tubes of the ray-florets are split open, so that the rays are broad and strap-shaped, with a straight end notched into five teeth. It flowers from July to October.
The generic name is from an old Greek name for the plant, and a similar word is in use in nearly all the languages of civilization.
Cichorium intybus. - Compositae. -