Donaldson, S. and Hanson Mazet, W. 2013, A Northern Nevada Homeowner’s Guide to Identifying and Managing Chicory, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-13-10

Other common names

Blue daisy, blue sailors, coffeeweed, wild bachelor’s buttons, wild endive

Scientific name

Cichorium intybus




Chicory grows up to 3 or more feet tall, with most of the leaves growing at the base of the plant. This gives a skeleton-like appearance to the upper part of the plant. The leaves have been used as salad greens, and the root as a coffee substitute.

Typical plant growing

Typical plant growing in disturbed site by W. Hanson Mazet.


Basal leaves are large and somewhat toothed or sometimes deeply lobed. Leaves are smooth or hairy. Upper leaves are small and have smooth edges or small lobes, and clasp the stem.

Chicory leaf

The leaves have a pale midrib with hairs on the underside by J. DiTomaso, UCCE.


Erect, round and stiffly branched. The lower part of the stem is hairy. Stems are hollow and produce a milky sap when broken.


The stems are stiffly branched and have few leaves above by J. DiTomaso, UCCE.


Blue or sometimes purple or white flowers occur in groups of one to three where leaves join the stems. The tips of the petals are squared off and toothed. Individual flowers only open for a single day.

Flower petals

The tips of the flower petals are squared and toothed by J. DiTomaso, UCCE.


Grows a deep taproot that oozes a bitter, milky sap when broken or cut.

Native to


Where it grows

Pastures, fence lines, poorly maintained turf, roadsides and disturbed sites; prefers moist conditions

Life cycle

Perennial (grows back each year from the roots)


Reproduces by seed

Seedling leaves

Seedlings leaves are smooth and have a few teeth by W. Hanson Mazet, UCCE.

Control methods

Chicory continues to be grown as a crop plant, so little information is available on control.


Dig, hoe or pull small patches. Chicory can be successfully controlled by deep cultivation or tillage. It will regrow after mowing.


Encourage thick, competitive vegetation. Chicory is not competitive.


No biological control agents are available. Chicory is used as a forage species in some areas and tolerates grazing.


Apply broadleaf-selective herbicides such as 2,4-D + dicamba on young plants. Glyphosate may also be effective but is nonselective and can kill or damage other plants, including lawn grasses.


DiTomaso, J.M. and E.A. Healy. 2007. Weeds of California and Other Western States. University of California Publication 3488.

HPIPM. 2009. Chicory. Bugwood Wiki.

UC Berkeley Jepson Manual. 2012. Cichorium intybus L., Jepson Flora Project.

USDA Plants profile, Cichorium intybus L., USDA.

Whitson, Tom D. (editor). 2009. Weeds of the West. University of Wyoming, Jackson, Wyoming.

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