Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday

Today's flower is Chicory.  You probably know why I picked this one.  Because it's blue, that's why! 


Chicory,(Cichorium intybus) is a member of the daisy family (Asteraceae) and a close relative to dandelions. It is a herbaceous perennial and can be found just about everywhere, in fields, roadsides and ditches.  It can be mowed down and survive because it's primary leaves are produced in a whorl, only a couple of inches off the ground.   The flower stems can be 2 to 3 feet tall.  The flowers open in the morning and close around noon when the temperature rises.  Seeds are spread by wind much like dandelion seeds.


This plant was originally native to Europe, especially Southern European countries.  It is thought that it was brought to North America in hay that was used to feed cows on their journey.  It has now become naturalized here.  This plant is not only a great food for cattle, it is also used as a salad green and a cooked vegetable.  The roots can be boiled and eaten, but, perhaps the most common use for them is in the making of a coffee substitute.  Chicory, historically, has had a wide array of medicinal uses, including everything from a tonic, a diuretic and a laxative.  


Hope you have enjoyed this lovely blue flower.  Now I am going to hide out in my basement for the day. We are in the middle of a heatwave.  The temperature is above 32C and with the humidity it feels more like 40C. And wouldn't you believe it!  My airconditioner is not working!!!! The service guy won't be here until tomorrow morning. 

Why do things always break down when they are needed most?

 

10 comments:

Donna said...

Chicory coffee and Beignets at Cafe du Monde, New Orleans, LA - one of my favorite treats!

Dolores said...

Thanks for the info on chicory. What part is used as a coffee substitute? Coffee is from beans. When we went grocery shopping, my mom had to buy chicory for a man that lived in the same apartment building as us growing up. I think she said they used it during the war.
Keep cool - you and the kitties. The basement is best.

Exuberant Color said...

I think Chickory is so pretty along the roads here in IL. I didn't know it had so many uses though.

Wacky Woman said...

How interesting Hetty. I agree with Donna. Sitting out at Café Du Monde with a cup of chicory and a Beignet is one of life's greatest pleasures. You can just feel yourself relax almost immediately. Try to stay cool.

W. Latane Barton said...

I love chicory. It grows alongside the road in Tennessee and looks so pretty

Monica said...

I love it when the chicory is in full bloom in all the medians around here. I'm glad to learn that this is one wildflower that is actually good for cattle! So many of them seem like forbidden pleasures. ;)

Barb said...

lovely flowers

KaHolly said...

Great info and some very nice photos!! I remember a long time ago when coffee prices soared through the roof, they were adding chicory. Stay cool!!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful flowers. As are all the flowers you showed previously.
And the heat wave is officially over. Until the next one, of course!

Makke.


Rose Marie said...

I never knew the name of this plant; but have always admired it!