Description from Flora of China
Herbs, perennial, [biennial or annual]. Stem usually solitary, branched in lower half. Involucre cylindric, hardened in fruit. Phyllaries in several series; outer phyllaries centripetally longer, imbricate; inner phyllaries in one row, equal in length. Receptacle naked. Florets bright blue. Achene subcylindric to obovoid, ± 3-5-angular, apex truncate. Pappus white, a tiny crown of fimbriate scales.
Two species, Cichorium endivia Linnaeus and C. intybus, are widely cultivated as a leafy vegetable in China; the latter is also widespread in China as a ruderal weed and in other temperate and semiarid regions of the world.
About seven species: N Africa, SW Asia, S Europe; one species (introduced) in China.
(Authors: Shi Zhu (石铸 Shih Chu); Norbert Kilian)