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Cichorium endivia

Pronunciation: Sik-kor-ee-um en-div-ee-uh
Family: Asteraceae/compositae (aster/daisy family)
Common Name: Endive, escarole, batavia
Plant Type:
  • perennial
  • fruits, vegetables
  • annual
Height to: 10"
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Description: The leaves of both endive and escarole are a little more thick and chewy than those of lettuce, which is also closely related. Endives and escaroles produce attractive pale blue flowers on stems that stand way above the leafy foliage. Most endives and escaroles are bright green, but there are some cultivars that are bronzy brown, and some with red midribs.
Propagation: Endive and escarole are grown from seed. In the north, plant in early spring, 2-4 weeks before the last expected frost, or in late summer, 12-15 weeks before the first expected frost for a fall crop. In the south, plant in autumn or even in winter. Endive and escarole should be ready for blanching 2-3 months after sowing the seed.
Native to: Cichorum endivia is probably native to india, although there are other opinions, including that it hails from egypt or china, or that it is a hybrid between c. Intybus and c. Pumilum, a wild species from turkey and syria.
Notes for Identification: Source: floridata - escarole, and to a lesser extent, endive, should be blanched to reduce their bitterness. Cover the plants with inverted bushel baskets, boxes, clay pots or a temporary plywood a-frame, and leave them covered for 2-4 weeks. The leaves will turn creamy white and will lose their bitterness. You also can blanch endive and escarole by tying up the outer leaves so that the inner leaves and hearts are protected from the light. Be sure the plants are dry before covering them or they will likely rot. In fact, they should be uncovered (or untied) for a while to dry out after rain. Endive is used almost exclusively raw in salads. Restaurants often use endive as a garnish around salad bowls. Escarole is also a fine salad green, but it also can be braised in olive oil and garlic, or steamed or boiled like spinach. The slightly bitter flavor of endive and escarole are much appreciated by european salad lovers; americans are just beginning to appreciate bitter tastes in salads. Adding something sweet or oily to a salad balances the bitterness of endive and escarole; sweet peppers, chopped hard boiled egg, and olive oil fulfil this function nicely. Care: endive and escarole are grown like lettuce, in rows, wide rows or patches. Like other greens, endive and escarole taste best when grown quickly. Be sure to add nitrogen fertilizer to the soil. Endive and escarole should be grown quickly and they need regular watering for that.
Located in: Annual
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