If the chicory of our roadsides is divided in the spring, it blooms in August rather than early July, and its sky-blue daisy flowers are to my mind quite beautiful.
Henry Mitchell, The Essential Earthman.
Chicory one: I'm not sure whether this is Cichorium intybus or Cichorium endivia. It has dandelion-like, medium-green leaves, not quite as curly as escarole, but suitable (in small doses) for including in a salad green mix. The flowers are the classic ice-blue of the roadside chicories.
Chicory two: This is Cichorium intybus of the type that can be forced into Belgian endive heads. The foliage of this plant is thicker and a deeper green than that of "Chicory one", and although the blue of the flower is only a notch darker, it's almost periwinkle against the deep green leaves (this photo doesn't quite get the color right, alas).
Passengers in my car were getting impatient with my habit of craning for a closer look at flowering chicory along the highway, and I really wanted the chance to be able to look at chicory flowers up close without convoys of semis whizzing by, so I introduced these into my vegetable gardens last year, starting from seed. Cichorium intybus is perennial, and Cichorium endivia is annual or biennial, so these grew like leafy salad greens last year, then overwintered and put up tall stalks this spring that began to flower a few weeks ago. The flowers open by the dozens along knobby-kneed stems first thing in the morning, and close up by early or mid-afternoon, followed by masses of new flowers the next day.
Chicory is known as a weed just about everywhere, but is also called "blue sailor weed" in some parts, a nod to botanical folklore that claims that the flower is the avatar of a lovelorn lass whose heart was broken by a sailor who returned to his true love, the sea. I think her name was Brandy.
He came on a summer's day
Bringin' gifts from far away
But he made it clear he couldn't stay
No harbor was his home.