Chicory

Cichorium intybus
5424200-PPT
Photo credit: David Cappaert, Bugwood.org

Status in Squamish:

STRATEGIC-CONTROL

Status in Whistler:

STRATEGIC-CONTROL

Status in Pemberton:

STRATEGIC-CONTROL
Vectors of Spread:
Synonyms

Coffeeweed, Wild Endive, Blue Daisy, and Blue Sailors

ID Characteristics

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 of 1 – 3 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 up to 2 m tall. Stems exude a milky sap when broken.

Leaves: Rosette leaves are oblong, 5 – 15 cm, and hairy, resembling dandelion leaves. Upper leaves are smaller, alternate, stalkless, and clasping at the stem.

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.

Similar Species
Native:

Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, Bugwood.org

  • Blue Lettuce (Lactuca tatarica): Chicory has a more branched growth pattern with stalkless flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

Showy Blue Lettuce (Mulgedium pulchellum) by Robert L. Carr

  • Showy Blue Lettuce (Mulgedium pulchellum): Chicory has a more branched growth pattern with stalkless flowers.

 

 

 

 

Showy Daisy

Showy Daisy (Erigeron speciosus) by J. Harvey

  • Showy Daisy (Erigeron speciosus): It has similar flowers to Chicory but with a yellow middle.

 

 

 

 

Invasive:

  • Bachelor’s Button (Centaurea cyanus): Its flowers can be blue, purple, or pink, but have a unique pompom-like appearance.

 

 

 

  • Mountain BluetMountain Bluet (Centaurea montana): Similar appearing flowers but with magenta centers and thin and wispy petals with fringed tips.
Report

Please report any sighting of Chicory by clicking here.

Habitat and Origin

Chicory is native to southern and central 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.

Current Distribution

Propagation & Vectors of Spread

Chicory reproduces solely by seed. One plant can produce up to 3,000 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

Ecological: 

  • Out-competes native flora and recreational turfgrass, thus reducing biodiversity.

Economic:

  • Causes dairy products from cows that have consumed it to taste bitter.

Health:

  • Chicory’s milky latex can cause dermatitis (skin irritation) in humans.
What Can I Do?

Chicory is found in the Sea to Sky region and its distribution is beyond landscape-level control. When Chicory is present at high-priority locations and negatively impacting them, their control is considered a high priority.

Otherwise, the goal is to prevent it from spreading to new (uninfested) areas, and to control it where possible to limit its impact on biodiversity.

Learn to identify Chicory: use the images on 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.

 

DO:

  • 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.

 

DO NOT:

  • 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.

 

Control

Mechanical

  • 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.

Chemical

  • 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

Biological control agents are not available for Chicory.

References