Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Chicory: Cichorium intybus

Weed Description:  A perennial that resembles dandelion but produces an attractive blue or purple flower.  Chicory is primarily a weed of pastures, hayfields, and turfgrass and is found throughout the United States.

Seedling:  Cotyledons are oval and have an indented apex.  Cotyledons are widest at the apex and taper down to a short petiole.

Stems: Stems are branched and produced during the latter part of the growing season.

Roots:  A taproot that is relatively large and brown in color.

Flowers:  Produced in clusters of 1 to 3 on the flowering stems.  Individual flowers are approximately 1 inches in diameter and are blue, purple, or white in color.

Fruit:  An achene that is approximately 2 to 3 mm long and angled.

Leaves:   Plants initially produce a basal rosette of leaves that resembles dandelion.  Leaves are also produced on flowering stems during the same season.  All leaves are alternate and lanceolate in outline and usually have rough hairs on both surfaces.  All of the leaves are also slightly dissected or lobed and usually have toothed margins.  The lobes that occur are not always opposite one another unlike those of dandelion.  Rosette leaves are approximately 3 to 10 inches long by to 3 inches wide.  Leaves that occur on the flowering stalks are much smaller than the rosette leaves and also have leaf bases that surround or clasp the stem.
Identifying Characteristics:  Plant that resembles dandelion when in the rosette stage but produces flowering stems with attractive blue, purple or white flowers.  This weed is often confused with Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) when in the rosette stage, however the rosette leaves of dandelion generally have lobes that are opposite from one another and these lobes are generally pointing in the direction of the rosette unlike those of chicory.