Sky blue wildflower – Chicory
These beautiful blue flowers grow near where I live in Seaford Sussex. Here’s a pic of my kids walking through a small field of it near Seaford Blatchington golf club.
Cichorium intybus as a crop
Chicory is grown as a forage for livestock, a salad crop, and its baked roots can be used as a coffee substitute. I think it must have been grown as a crop where I found it in Seaford as there was so much of it!
Chicory – Cichorium intybus form
You can see from these pics that Chicory is a tall plant with long fleshy hairy stems. The patch we walked though was over a metre tall in places and the stems had light branching. This is in contrast to similar tall, blue Common Blue-Sowthistle Cicerbita macrophylla aka Lactuca macrophylla, which has much more branching flower stems and wider leaves.
Leaves of Chicory – Cichorium intybus
The leaves are lanceolate (lance-shaped meaning that it is a narrow oval shape which tapers to a point at each end) and the ones I saw were about 2 or 3 cm across and up to 10cm long. The leaves were clasping which means that the sides of the leaf look as though they’re hugging the stem.
Flowers of Chicory – Cichorium intybus
I would describe the colour of Chicory flowers as Periwinkle blue (another wildflower ;)). The flowers are up to about 4cm across and are held on very short stems in the leaf axil, which is quite a different shape to the Sowthistle mentioned above.
I also found some Chicory on a walk in Kent