chicory USDA PLANTS Symbol: CIIN
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Forbs/Herbs
Cichorium intybus L.

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Taxonomic Rank: Magnoliopsida: Asterales: Asteraceae
Synonym(s): blue sailors, coffeeweed, Common chicory, succory
Native Range: N. Africa, Europe, w. Asia (BAIL);

Cichorium intybus is a biennial to perennial herbaceous plant that can grow from 1-5 ft. (0.3-1.5 m) tall. It has erect, round, hollow, nearly leafless, green to reddish brown stems that produce a milky sap when cut. Lower part of stems are hairy. It is native to Africa, both temperate and tropical Asia and Europe.
Rosette leaves are 2-6 in. (5.1-15 cm) long, oblong with rough hairs on upper and lower surfaces. Margins may be shallowly toothed or deeply dissected. Lance-shaped stem leaves are small, sparse, alternate, and clasping with margins either smooth or slightly toothed.
The flowers are in showy clusters on the upper branches. Each flower has bright blue petals with toothed squared off ends. Flowers usually bloom in the morning and close later in the day.
Fruits are about 0.13 in. (0.3 cm) long, dark brown and wedge shaped. Fruits contains one seed. Each plant can produce as many as 3000 seeds.
Ecological Threat
C. intybus prefers well-drained or moderately drained soils along roadsides, railroads, disturbed sites, waste ground, and cultivated fields. Although it is mostly limited to roadsides and waste places, it can encroach upon higher grade dry prairies habitats. It is listed as a noxious weed in some states. C. intybus resembles native Showy Blue Lettuce (Mulgedium pulchellum).

Selected Images from Invasive.orgView All Images at

Plant(s); in flower
Joseph M. DiTomaso, University of California - Davis,
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Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte, ,
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David Cappaert, ,
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Bruce Ackley, The Ohio State University,
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John Cardina, The Ohio State University,
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Chris Evans, University of Illinois,
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Plant(s); A common roadside weed. Iowa
Chris Evans, University of Illinois,
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Bruce Ackley, The Ohio State University,
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EDDMapS Distribution:
This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts and records obtained from USDA Plants Database. For more information, visit

State(s) Where Reported invasive.
Based on state level agency and organization lists of invasive plants from WeedUS database.

U.S. National Parks where reported invasive:
Antietam National Battlefield (Maryland)
Chiricahua National Monument (Arizona)
Death Valley National Park (California)
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (West Virginia)
Stones River National Battlefield (Tennessee)

Invasive Listing Sources:
City of Ann Arbor Michigan Parks and Recreation
Hoffman, R. & K. Kearns, Eds. 1997. Wisconsin manual of control recommendations for ecologically invasive plants. Wisconsin Dept. Natural Resources, Bureau of Endangered Resources. Madison, Wisconsin. 102pp.
Jil M. Swearingen, Survey of invasive plants occurring on National Park Service lands, 2000-2007
John Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Survey of TNC Preserves, 1995.
Kentucky Exotic Pest Plant Council
Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2005
Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust, Pennsylvania.
Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council