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Home > Herb Gardening > Herbal Plants > Chicory or Witloof (
Chicory or Witloof (Chicorium intybus) Herbal Plants
Chicory or Witloof (Chicorium intybus)Name: Chicory or Witloof (Chicorium intybus)

DESCRIPTION: A many-branched tall shrub to 1.5m, chicory has large lower leaves that are club-shaped and smaller upper leaves with blue daisy flowers along the bristly stems. It has sharp-tasting young leaves and very bitter old ones. The large white root can be roasted and ground as a substitute for coffee.

ORIGIN: Europe

CULTIVATION: Choose a sunny, well-drained location to which organic material and a complete fertiliser have been added. Sow seeds in spring where they are to grow and thin out later. To make the leaves more palatable, the roots of established plants (foliage removed) are dug up and replanted into deep boxes of moist medium. As the "witloof" grows up through the sand the leaves are blanched and the flavour is much milder.

USES: Very young leaves can be used in salads where they add a piquant bitterness and blanched witloof can be used either in salads or as a cooked vegetable. Traditionally the herb was used as a health tonic, especially to aid liver function and was also applied externally to cure a range of ailments. It was also used in love potions.
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