Chicory forms a basal rosette that produces sparsely leaved and wiry branching stems. Its leaves are rough on the upper surface and also on the lower surface of the lower leaves. Chicory has a long, large taproot that is dark brown in color and fleshy to the touch. Its stems and leaves exude a milky sap when cut, and reproduction occurs by seeds. Blooming from June until October, this broadleaf weed blooms brilliant, bright-blue and purple flowers. The flowers form on stems that can grow as high as 3 feet. When not in bloom, Chicory’s basal rosette resembles that of the Dandelion. However, Chicory can be distinguished by the fact that its toothed lobes may point forward, perpendicular or backward.
This broadleaf weed grows along roadsides and railroads, preferring disturbed areas and waste grounds. It is also cultivated and sold in nurseries. Chicory is extremely common throughout the lower 48 United States.
Strong cultural practices—such as proper mowing and watering—can help prevent Cichorium intybus by creating dense grass, which inhibits this broadleaf weed’s ability to grow. Physical removal (i.e., pulling weeds) is generally ineffective due to the risk of spreading the seeds to additional areas of your lawn and landscaping as well as the inability to fully remove the taproot.