Thursday, 26 July 2012

Chicory

Another beautiful day for a long walk, so we took ourselves off for a wander around Shipley Hill, over to the visitors' centre and then on to Osbourne's Pond.  It was while we were walking around Cinder Hill, on the way to the visitors' centre, that a tall, blue-flowered plant caught our eye.
I thought it was Chicory, but having never seen it before, I wasn't sure.  But, getting home and consulting the books, I was right.  Chicory (Cichorium intybus), usually grows to about 3-4ft tall, but these specimens were reaching 6ft or more in some cases.
There were certainly plenty of them.  The bitter-tasting leaves are used in cookery in various parts of the world, especially some of the Mediterranean countries.  The root of this plant, in it's cultivated form, is often baked, ground and used as a substitute for and additive to coffee.  The root is also very toxic to intestinal parasites and has been used as a means of purging the system of intestinal worms.  For this reason it is also sometimes used as an additive to animal feeds.
A very useful plant and when seen growing in such numbers, it's a very handsome one too.
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