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Common Name: Endive
Cichorium endiva is a Biennial up to 1.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
S. Europe to E. Asia - India.
Rocks and sand by the sea[
Succeeds in any moderately fertile well-drained soil[
]. Prefers a medium to light sandy or gravelly soil that is rich in humus[
]. Prefers a sunny position[
] but with light shade in the summer to prevent plants running to seed[
]. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.3 to 8.3.
Endive is often cultivated, especially in Europe, for its edible leaves[
], there are many named varieties[
]. These varieties can be divided into two main types, the plain-leafed and the curly-leafed. Although more decorative, the curly-leafed forms are less suitable for late autumn/winter use because they are less hardy and their leaves tend to hold moisture and therefore encourage mildew and other disease problems[
]. In Britain, the plants grow best in Cornwall[
]. Through successional sowing, and careful selection of varieties, it is possible to obtain leaves all year round[
]. The main season of availability is autumn to early winter, though this can be extended through the winter if the plants are given protection[
]. A combination of low temperatures and short days causes the plants to flower[
Leaves - raw or cooked[
]. Leaves of wild plants are very bitter but there are many named forms with only a slight bitterness[
]. The leaves are quite large and often form a rosette like cabbages. They are very easy to harvest. Endive makes a very acceptable addition, in moderate quantities, to the salad bowl, though the leaves are too bitter for most tastes to be used as the main salad leaf[
]. The leaves are often blanched (by excluding light from the growing plant) in order to reduce this bitterness[
], though this process also reduces the nutritional value of the plant[
The plant is used as a resolvent and cooling medicine, and in the treatment of bilious complaints[
]. It has a similar but milder effect to chicory (Cichorium intybus) and so is a very beneficial tonic to the liver and digestive system[
The root is demulcent and tonic[
]. It has been used in the treatment of dyspepsia and fevers[
The fruit (this probably means the seed[
]) has been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, bilious complaints and jaundice[
Seed - sow in situ early to mid July for an autumn and winter crop and up to mid August for succession. Seedlings can be transplanted[
]. Successional sowings can also be made from mid spring onwards for a summer crop though these plants are liable to bolt in hot weather or if there is a cold snap in late spring[