The photo above shows a close-up of the ray flowers that make up a flower head of chicory as seen at about 3000' on the south side of Mt. Adams...................August 25, 2005.
Chicory is an erect perennial to 170 cm tall arising from a taproot. The stems are stout and well branched. The leaves are mainly basal, simple but deeply toothed/lobed, with the general appearance of dandylion leaves. The basal leaves are lanceolate or spatulate in shape with toothed or lobed margins and petioled bases. They range from 8-15 cm long. The stem leaves are much reduced in size and are lanceolate in shape with clasping bases and toothed margins .
Both the stems and leaves are a deep green color. The stems contain a milky white sap.
The flower heads are numerous on the stems, appearing in clusters or by themselves on the upper stems. The large flower heads are a medium blue (occasionally white) and up to 4 cm in diameter. The flowers are all ray flowers. The involucre ranges from 9-15 mm high an consists of 8-10 bracts, the outer 4-5 bracts being short and spreading.
Chicory is a weedy plant of disturbed places, including roadsides, fields, and waste areas.
A widely distributed weed originally from Eurasia, chicory is now common west of the Cascade crest, and into the Columbia River Gorge (west of The Dalles) between the elevations of 100'-3000'.