Chicory is a bushy, perennial herb with blue or lavender flowers. Common chicory is also known as blue sailors, succory, and coffeeweed. The plant is cultivated and used as endive under the common names radicchio, Belgian endive, French endive, or witloof. It is grown in complete darkness to keep new leaves tender and pale.
True (Cichorium endivia) is a species of chicory which is specially grown and used as a salad green. It has a slightly bitter taste and has been attributed with herbal properties. Curly endive and the broad-leafed escarole are true endives.
The root of the chicory can be roasted, ground, and used as a coffee substitute or added to coffee grounds. Although this was originally used as a cost-effective method to extend the use of the more expensive coffee, some prefer the taste. It can be purchased alone or pre-blended with ground coffee.