How to differentiate chicory from dandelion?

Differences between the chicory plant and the dandelion plant

I see in my garden some plants like a dandelion and a chicory, how can I be sure that they are these plants if I want to consume them? (Consultation received through our Facebook).

How can we differentiate chicory from dandelion?

In general, in order to correctly identify a plant, it is essential to study its leaves, flowers, fruits, and its general appearance. To do this, you have to spend some time and see the different stages of the plant.

However, in this particular case that you are consulting us, these two plants are very easy to differentiate:

Characteristics to identify chicory

Chicory (Cichorium intybus) is tall and characterized by its blue flowers, which occur in various knots on its stems. Notice these details in the following images:

Chicory flower Cichorium intybus
Chicory flower
blue flowers Cichorium intybus
The chicory plant is tall and has numerous blue flowers on its stems.

Characteristics to identify a dandelion

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has a yellow flower, grows in a rosette a few centimeters from the ground and only has one flower per stem. Notice these details in the following images:

dandelion plant
Dandelion only has one flower per stem and these are yellow in color

How to differentiate dandelion-like plants according to their rosette

However, many of these plants belonging to the Compositae family (Asteraceae) can be confused when they are in their early stages, that is, when they only have rosette-shaped leaves.

In these cases, chicory has more “teeth” and shallower than dandelion, and the latter is characterized by deeply serrated leaves. Dandelion literally means “lion teeth”

Differences between dandelion leaves and other plants with serrated leaves

Notice these details in the following images:

dandelion rosette
Dandelion rosette, with characteristically “dandelion” shaped leaves. It may also have some less serrations.
dandelion rosette
Chicory rosette, leaves, unflowered. The blades are also serrated, but they clearly differ from dandelion blades because they are “saw” shaped.

What can be done with these plants?

One of the most delicious and nutritious uses is to eat them in salads, soups or creams, like spinach:

– How to eat dandelion leaves

Chicory recipes

More questions about these plants

There are plants with very similar characteristics that can only be identified when they flower, when they bear fruit, or depending on the species, other details.

It is also necessary to know where it grows, since the habitat is other information necessary to be able to correctly identify a plant.

It is highly recommended to go to your city library and look for a plant guide of your area. Currently there are very good and easy-to-use guides, for example, looking for plants according to the color of the flower or the shape of the leaves.

* More information:

Tips for collecting wild plants

punto rojo More information on wild plants

This article was endorsed by Vicente Martínez Centelles - Founder of the web and director. Teacher of natural sciences, expert in plants, natural remedies and botanical photography.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

10 March, 2024

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