Sprayed Chicory (Cichorium intybus) Hell's Canyon, Eastside—
Chicory is a beautiful blue-flowered Mediterranean plant that has
thoroughly naturalized itself from East to West across the whole of North
America. Its preferred habitat in both Europe and the US are the highly
compacted soils on the waysides of interstate highway systems. The leaves
can be used in salads, and the large carrot-like roots (which almost certainly
will not be much affected by the spray used above, probably Tordon . . .)
have long been used in Europe as a coffee additive (the delicious German
Milch Kaffee) or substitute. Using herbicides against it is in my view
about as futile as trying to count and clear away all the rocks in Montana.
I feel that most of the much more pernicious invasives like the different
Knapweeds, Yellow Starthistle or Leafy Spurge are signs of the beginning
of the end of long-standing imbalances in landuse patterns, like grazing at
the wrong time of year with the wrong kind or number of animals in the
wrong places. But it seems to me that the humble Chicory is, from its point
of view then, so successful simply because its preferred roadside habitat
has become both universal and an ideal corridor for spreading its seeds.
With Chicory, I think it would perhaps be wiser to apply not more spray
but the old Appalachian mountain saying, "If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em!"
Below is another Eurasian native, Teasel, that has become
an invasive weed in the American Northwest.
NEW: To view / purchase different sized prints of this image at the
PhotoWeek Store click here. view as SLIDESHOW |