Cichorium

Whilst hiking one of the woodland trails in Southeastern Pennsylvania, I came across a stand of chicory.  Not uncommon, except for the rarer white flowering plant just starting to bloom.  Chicory grows wild along roadsides as a native plant in Europe and normally features bright blue flowers.  It is now common in North America, China and Australia where is has become naturalized.  Chicory is an interesting plant with a long history of uses as a coffee substitute and additive as well as a forage crop for livestock.  It is cultivated for use as salad leaves such as blanched endive.  Chicory is recorded as an ancient Germany treatment for a number of aliments.  A versatile plant, now considered invasive in several states in the US, is a member of the dandelion family.

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