Cichorium intybus, or chicory, is a perennial and part of the compositae family. It prefers moist soil and grassy meadows but can grow in both very acidic and very alkaline soils. Its cornflower-eque blue flowers can be seen early summer - late fall.
Chicory has a long history in herbal use - most commonly for its tonic effect on the liver and digestive system. All parts of the chicory plant can be eaten. While the leaves are rather bitter, they can be added to salads; alternatively they can be blanched (a process that is done by excluding light, either by removing all the leaves and then earthing up the new growth, or by covering the plant with a bucket or something similar). The flowers can be used in salads and the young root makes a tasty addition to soups when boiled. The older root, however, is quite bitter.