Cichorium


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Related to Cichorium: Cichorium endivia

Cichorium

 

(chicory), a genus of perennial, biennial, or annual herbs of the family Compositae. A milky sap is found throughout the plants. The leaves vary in shape from pinnatifid to toothed; the basal leaves are in a rosette formation. The inflorescences are heads borne in the axils of the leaves and on top of the stem and branches. The ligulate, bisexual flowers are light or dark blue, bluish pink, or whitish. The fruit is an achene with a very short pappus.

There are eight to ten species native to Eurasia and North Africa; the plants have been introduced into the temperate and subtropical belts of both hemispheres. There are four species in the USSR. The common chicory (C. intybus), a perennial with a long taproot, grows in dry-valley meadows, on the edges of forests and fields, on fallow land, in wastelands, amid crops (mainly forage grasses), and along roads and ditches. The plant yields a substantial amount of nectar and is eaten as pasturage by livestock. The roots contain the polysaccharide inulin and the bitter glycoside intybin. Common chicory is cultivated as a biennial; commonly grown are the Borisovskii and Ispolinskii varieties. The thickened roots of cultivated forms are used as a coffee substitute and an additive in coffee; they are also used in the production of high-quality alcohol. The etiolated leaves are used as salad. The roots of wild chicory are used as an agent for increasing the appetite and for improving digestion. A tea made from the roots has antimicrobial and astringent properties.

The endive (C. endivia) is cultivated in Mediterranean countries and the southern regions of the USSR as a salad plant. It is unknown in the wild.

REFERENCE

Ipat’ev, A. N. Ovoshchnye rasteniia zemnogo sham. Minsk, 1966.

T. V. EGOROVA

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