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Chicory facts for kids

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Common chicory
Botanical illustration of chicory
1885 illustration
Closeup photograph of blue chicory flower
Scientific classification
Genus:
Cichorium
Species:
intybus
Synonyms

Common chicory (Cichorium intybus) is a somewhat woody, perennial herbaceous plant of the dandelion family Asteraceae. It usually has bright blue flowers, rarely white or pink.

It is often used as a food plant, and often as a coffee substitute. Many varieties are cultivated for salad leaves, chicons (blanched buds), or roots. The roots of variety sativum are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and food additive.

In the 21st century, inulin, an extract from chicory root, has been used in food manufacturing as a sweetener and source of dietary fibre.

Chicory is grown as a forage crop for livestock. It lives as a wild plant on roadsides in its native Europe, and is now common in North America, China, and Australia, where it has become widely introduced.

"Chicory" is also the common name in the United States for curly endive (Cichorium endivia). These two closely related species are often confused.

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