Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
The distinctive sky-blue flowers make Chicory unmistakable. Varieties of Chicory are used as salad greens and as a coffee substitute or additive. It grows along roadsides, and seems especially happy in a crack in the asphalt at the edge of a parking lot. This plant grew beside an alley in the South Side flats.
Gray describes the genus and the single species in our area:
CICHÓRIUM [Tourn.] L. SUCCORY or CHICORY
Heads several-flowered. Involucre double, herbaceous, the inner of 8-10, the outer of 5 short and spreading bracts. Achenes striate; pappus of numerous small chaffy scales, forming a short crown. Branching perennials, with deep roots; the sessile heads 2 or 3 together, axillary and terminal, or solitary on short thickened branches. Flowers bright blue, varying to purple or pink (rarely white), showy. (Altered from the Arabian name of the plant.)
1. C. INTYBUS L. (COMMON C., BLUE SAILORS.) Stem-leaves oblong or lanceolate, partly clasping, the lowest runicate, those of the rigid flowering branches minute. (Including var. divaricatum of Am. auth., probably not of DC.) Roadsides and fields, Nfd. to Minn., and southw. July-Oct. (Nat. from Eu.)