Outdoor Visits  by Edith M. Patch

Blue Chicory

Nan liked blue flowers and she often visited chicory plants.

Once she went to call on chicory in the afternoon. The flowers were not open then.

So she went about eight o'clock one Saturday morning. The flowers were open. They opened about five o'clock and stayed open until ten or twelve o'clock.


Nan told her uncle about visiting the chicory. "Uncle Tom," she said, "I went to see some chicory flowers in the morning. They were open and looked as lovely as blue daisies."

Uncle Tom said, "Different kinds of plants have different habits.

"Some flowers stay open day and night. Some open in the dark and stay open all night. Some open in the morning and close before the middle of the day."

"Once I went to see the chicory in the afternoon," said Nan, "and I was surprised. I could not find any open flowers."

Nan asked if chicory is a weed.

"People call chicory a weed when it grows where they wish to have other plants," her uncle told her.

But in many places people grow chicory in their gardens.

Sometimes people grow chicory in the dark. Sometimes they cover the plants with sand.

Then the leaves are white and tender. They have a bitter taste but they are good to eat.


Some people cook these tender white bitter leaves. Some people like to eat them raw.

Chicory plants have big thick roots. The roots live in the ground all winter.


These roots are often dried and used like coffee.

Some people like a drink that is part coffee and part chicory. But some people do not like to have any chicory in their coffee.

Uncle Tom told Nan how people use chicory leaves and roots.

Then he told her about chicory honey. He said, "Sometimes people grow many, many chicory plants for bees. Honey bees visit the flowers and drink the sweet nectar. Then they change the nectar to honey."

Nan said, "Once I saw some bees drink nectar when I went to visit the chicory.

"I wish I might have some chicory honey to eat with bread and butter."

One day Nan dug up a chicory root and took it to school.

Her teacher said, "You may put it in the school garden, if you like."