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Chicory
Solanum carolinense L. (Potato family, Solanaceae)
 

Description

Chicory is a deeply rooted erect, branching, biennial or perennial, warm-season forb, from 1 to 6 feet tall with milky sap. Basal rosette of leaves arise from a long fleshy taproot. Stem color is green or reddish.

Leaves: Basal leaves in rosette; basal and cauline leaves are alternate, clasping, and hairy, 2 to 10 inches long and 1/2 to 2-3/4 inches wide; basal leaves spatulate in outline, irregularly saw toothed or pinnately incised, with the lobes or teeth hooked backward; stem leaves become reduced, sessile, entire to toothed.

Flowers: Flowers June to August; blue, rarely white or pink, flower heads are relatively large, 1 to 1-9/16 inches in diameter, borne in widely spaced sessile clusters (1 to 3) along the branches or at the apex of short branches; ray flowers are blunt and 5 toothed at the apex. Involucre 3/8 to 5/8 inch high, the bracts in two series, the outer about half as long as the inner; pappus of narrow, minute scales.

Fruit: Achenes weakly 5-angled, 1/16 to 1/8 inch long, tipped with a crown of minute scales.

Habitat

Waste places and disturbed sites, especially along roadsides typically within elevations that generally range from 4,000 to 8,000 feet.

Propagation/Phenology

Reproduces by seed; can produce as many as 425,000 seeds per pound.

Comments

Native to southern and central Europe and western Asia; chicory has beautiful flowers and a very attractive growth habit; however, it is a good example of a nonnative species that remains sparsely scattered during early population establishment and then within a few years can show up in masses far and wide; New Mexico Class B noxious weed.

Collage of images of Chicory

 

 

 
Forest Service Shield
Invasive plants and weeds of the national forests and grasslands in the southwestern region
Chicory flower head and foliage Chicory flower head Chicory plant basal foliage