Whether you call it Chicory, Blue Sailor, or one of at least a half-dozen alternate common names—or maybe know it by its scientific name, Cichorium intybus—surely you'll agree this ubiquitous plant is as pretty as anything from the garden. Tall enough to get noticed, with bright daisylike flowers up to a couple inches across and blue as a summer sky. Just seeing a clump beside a country road immediately lifts my spirits.
Yes, the plant has a long, long history of use medicinally, in dye-making, and as forage for livestock. In the kitchen you can use various parts in all sorts of dishes, including the dried, ground root as an additive—or even substitute—to coffee. And no, it's naturalized rather than a native…like me, a fellow citizen descended from immigrant stock.
But I say forget all that. Just take the time to give the blooms a slow, close look. Isn't it dazzling! And isn't that reason aplenty to welcome this delightful plant to the summer landscape? After all, a wildflower doesn't have to be rare to be beautiful.