Weed of the Month: Chicory

Common name: Chicory
Scientific name: Cichorium intybus L.

Life Cycle: Perennial
Origin: Mediterranean region
Poisonous: None reported



Chicory is a commonly occurring plant in all types of pastures and rough turfs across North America. This erect, branched, simple perennial weed grows two to four feet in height at maturity and has milky sap. Chicory flowers a distinctive bright blue petal from mid-June through October. It develops from a basal rosette (a circular arrangement of leaves arising from the base of a stem, similar to dandelion), has a deep, fleshy taproot, and reproduces from buds on the root. Chicory is spread primarily by seeds. This plant is not as common as many weeds in horse pastures but occurs in more abundance in pastures that are not mowed.

Chicory is relatively easy to control with several herbicides. Mowing in pastures might reduce flower formation but is generally ineffective in killing the plant. Hoeing or digging the tap root is successful and should be done before the seed heads form. Many people consider chicory to be less "weedy" and want it to grow in pastures, while others desire it to be removed. Consult your local Cooperative Extension Service personnel for herbicidal control in your area.

William Witt, PhD, a researcher in the department of plant and soil sciences at the University of Kentucky, provided this information.


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Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.