Chicory - Cichorium intybus


Medium to tall plant. Stiffly hairy or hairless with latex, stems erect, branched. The basal leaves pinnately lobed to deeply toothed and short stalked. Upper leaves lanceolate untoothed or slightly toothed, clasping the stem. Flowerheads clear bright blue 25 to 40 mm in leafy branched spikes, all florets rayed, the rays strap like with a toothed tip.

Similar Species

Blue sow-thistle (Cicerbita macrophylla) has similar mauve-blue 'dandelion' flowers on a tall plant. Cicerbita macrophylla has an ovate apical lobe and often a pair of lateral lobes, flattened achenes and a pappus (the 'thistledown' attached to the seed).

Identification difficulty

Rough grassy habitats, roadside verges, wasteland and railway verges.

When to see it

July to October

Life History


UK Status

Widespread but infrequent in Britain, particularly further north.

VC55 Status

Not common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 16 of the 617 tetrads.

be our species champion

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map