Coffeeweed, Wild Endive, Blue Daisy, and Blue Sailors
Flowers: Are blue or white and daisy-like, but the tips of the petals are squared off and toothed. Flowers are borne in showy clusters on the upper branches, and usually bloom in the morning and close later in the day.
Stem: Are grooved, erect, round, hollow, and green to reddish-brown. Stems are branched, stiff, nearly leafless, and sometimes hairy. Chicory grows to be about 1.5m tall. Stems exude a milky sap when broken.
Leaves: Rosette leaves are oblong, 5 – 15 cm, and hairy. Upper leaves are smaller, alternate, stalkless, and clasping at the stem. Most leaves grow at the base of the plant, giving it a ‘skeleton-like’ appearance.
Fruit: Are brown, ribbed, wedge-shaped, and about 0.3 cm long. Each fruit contains one seed.
Roots: Chicory has a deep taproot that oozes a bitter, milky sap when broken or cut.
Blue Lettuce (Lactuca tatarica)
Showy Blue Lettuce (Mulgedium pulchellum)
Chicory has a more branched growth pattern with stalkless flowers.
Habitat and Origin
Chicory is native to Europe, Africa and the temperate and tropical regions of Asia. It was likely brought to North America as an edible crop. Chicory leaves are edible, often eaten as salad greens, and the roots are used as a coffee substitute.
Chicory grows in a variety of conditions but prefers soils with a high lime content. It is often found in fields and disturbed areas, such as fence lines, roadsides, right-of-ways, pastures, and poorly maintained turf.
Propagation & Vectors of Spread
Chicory reproduces solely by seed. One plant can produce up to 3000 seeds.
Most seeds fall close to the parent plant; however, dispersal can be aided by the wind, wildlife, vehicles, and equipment. The main vectors of long-distance spread are the agriculture and horticulture trades, as Chicory continues to be grown as a crop plant.
Ecological, Economic, & Health Impacts
- Out-competes native flora and recreational turfgrass, thus reducing biodiversity.
- Causes dairy products to taste bitter when cows eat it.
- Chicory’s milky latex can cause dermatitis in humans.
What Can I Do?
Chicory is currently found throughout the Sea to Sky Corridor, so the best approach to controlling its spread is by PREVENTION.
Learn to identify Chicory: use the images presented in this profile page to learn how to identify Chicory.
What to do if you spot it: You can report any Chicory sighting by clicking here.
- Regularly monitor properties for weed infestations.
- Ensure soil and gravel are uncontaminated before transport.
- Check wildflower mixes to ensure that they do not contain Chicory.
- Ensure that plants are disposed of in a garbage bag if found in floral arrangements to prevent seeds from spreading.
- Unload, park or store equipment or vehicles in infested areas; remove plant material from any equipment, vehicles, or clothing used in such areas and wash equipment and vehicles at designated cleaning sites before leaving infested areas.
- Plant Chicory in a garden, no matter how well-contained its enclosure may seem.
- Move soil that has been contaminated with Chicory.
- Hand-pull, dig out or hoe small infestations.
- Ensure you remove as much of the root system as possible.
- Mowing can prevent seed production, but Chicory will likely regrow after mowing; repeated treatments may be required over several years to exhaust nutrients reserves and control new seedlings emerging from the existing seed bank.
- Glyphosate, aminopyralid, clopyralid, dicamba, and 2,4-D are chemical treatment options for Chicory.
- Picloram is also effective, but not suitable for wet, coastal soils.
- We recommend that any herbicide application is carried out by a person holding a valid BC Pesticide Applicator Certificate. Before selecting and applying herbicides, you must review and follow herbicide labels and application rates; municipal, regional, provincial and federal laws and regulations; species-specific treatment recommendations, and site-specific goals and objectives.
Biological control agents are not available for Chicory.
- Government of BC, A Guide to Weeds in British Columbia, https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/plants-animals-and-ecosystems/invasive-species/alerts/chicory.pdf
- Invasive Plant Atlas, Chicory, https://www.invasiveplantatlas.org/subject.html?sub=5332
- Invasive Species Council of BC, Field Guide to Noxious Weeds and Other Selected Invasive Plants of British Columbia, https://bcinvasives.ca/documents/Field_Guide_to_Noxious_Weeds_Final_WEB_09-25-2014.pdf
- King Country, Weed Watcher Guide to Invasive Plants, http://your.kingcounty.gov/dnrp/library/water-and-land/weeds/brochures/Weed-Watcher-Guide-to-Invasive-Plants-Web.pdf
- Lillooet Regional Invasive Species Society, Chicory, https://lriss.ca/species/chicory
- NatureGate, Chicory, http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/chicory
- Northern Bushcraft, Chicory,https://northernbushcraft.com/topic.php?name=chicory®ion=bc&ctgy=edible_plants
- Northwest Invasive Plant Council, Chicory, http://nwipc.org/plants/chicory