H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Cichorium Intybus - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Cichorium Intybus Described.
Cichorium Intybus - Syns. C. Perenne and C. Sylvestre—Wild Succory or Chicory; Nat. Ord. Compositæ.
This herbaceous perennial is a native plant, in many parts being very common. Not only, however, do many not know it as a wild flower, but we have the facts that under cultivation it is a distinct and showy plant, and that of late it has come into great request. Its flowers are a pleasing blue, and produced on ample branches, and for mixing with other "old-fashioned" kinds, either in the borders or as cut blooms, they are decidedly telling; for blending with other Composites it has its value mainly from the fact that blues are rare in September; the China asters are too short in the stalk for cutting purposes, and many of the tall perennial starworts are neither bright nor well disposed. I may also mention another proof of its decorative quality—it is not common (i.e., wild) in my district, and a plant being cultivated in my garden for its flowers has been so much admired that it is likely to have other patrons, and in many instances it is being introduced into gardens where the choicest flowers are cultivated. I am bound, however, to say that when not in flower it has the appearance of the commonest weed.
Its flowers are produced when 2ft. to 6ft. high. They are of a fine glistening blue colour, 1in. to 1½in. across, and in the way of a dandelion flower, but stalkless individually, being disposed in ones, twos, and threes, somewhat distantly in the axils of the leaves, and all over the numerous and straggling branches. The leaves are rough, of a dingy green colour, and variously shaped, Gerarde's description being as follows: "Wilde Succori hath long leaues, somewhat snipt about the edges like the leaues of sow thistle, with a stalke growing to the height of two cubits, which is deuided towarde the top into many braunches. The flowers grow at the top blewe of colour; the roote is tough and woodie, with many strings fastened thereto."
I find this plant not only enjoys a half shady place, but if it is so placed that its quick growing branches can mix with those of other subjects in a trellis or other supports, its coarser parts will not only be partially hidden, but the rich coloured flowers will show to advantage. I may mention that mine is mixed with Virginian creeper on wires, and the effect may easily be imagined. It will do in any kind of garden soil, but if deeply dug and well manured the flowers are vastly improved. Propagated by seed or division of the stout tap roots.
Flowering period, August to September.
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