Blue Dandelion

Cichorium intybus

Chicory, Belgian Or French Endive, Blue Daisy, Blue Sailors, Blue Weed, Bunk, Coffeeweed, Horseweed, Ragged Sailors, Succory, Wild Bachelor's Buttons, Wild Endive , Witloof (Afr.), Sigorei

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An upright plant with beautiful bright blue flowers. Chicory is thought to have been cultivated as a food plant since about 300 BC, and is still today enjoyed throughout the culinary world. It is best known for being a substitute or additive to coffee. A highly ornamental, but invasive, plant it can be enjoyed in various temperate and cold climate gardens not only for its edible qualities but also for its medicinal applications. ZA Distribution: Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Northern Cape, Western Cape.
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Flowering time

Summer, Spring

Fruiting time



The leaves should be harvested while the leaves are young and tender. If the plants are being grown for their roots then they should be pulled from the soil just before the last frost date. The leaves should be trimmed to about 2.5 cm from the crown and the roots should be trimmed to a uniform size.



Sow in Spring and space plants 20-30 cm apart. Germination time is 8-14 days.

Special features

Attracts useful insects

Attracts insects such as bees.

Pot plant

Can grow in large containers which can hold its extensive root systems, and provided it is given enough sunlight and good drainage holes.

Attracts birds

Attracts butterflies

Drought resistant

Attracts bees

Special features



Natural climate




Full Sun, Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Soil moisture


Soil type

Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Frost hardiness




A treatment for gallstones, gastro-enteritis, sinus problems and cuts and bruises, increases absorption of calcium and other minerals. Well known for its toxicity to internal parasites.


The flowers, leaves and roots are used for salad, baked, ground and used as a coffee substitute and additive. Also grown as food for livestock. The roots are stored in sand to give white leaves.


Culinary, medicinal




Flower colour

Pink, Blue, White




Pests include aphids (Green peach aphid, Lettuce aphid, Plum aphid), darkling beetles, flea beetles, loopers (Cabbage looper, Alfalfa looper), slugs & snails and thrips. Diseases include anthracnose, bacteral soft rot, bottom rot, damping-off, downy mildew, fusarium wilt, septoria blight, and white mold.


profile iconCichorium intybus
by Millicent Ndou & Dr M. Koekemoer, National Herbarium, Pretoria, June 2017 (Copyright South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa)
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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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