Here, in my parts of the woods, you can see hundreds of these flowers growing in every hardened and packed, nutrient deprived roadway, ditch or abandoned area. You may also see a few pop-up in a lawn or two. They never spread too aggressively or really out compete anything. I haven't had much luck trying to get them to grow well in a beautiful planned flower garden... they just aren't going to behave...no not the mannerly type! They tend to bloom in the morning and are usually spent by afternoon. However,there are so many blooms that you will get a nice show until the day is overcast. They are called chicory... they look like a cornflower blue bachelor button.
In the United States, chicory is so common on roadsides that it's hard to realize that its not native. Now that you see the picture... I'm sure most of you realize that you have it growing in your area. But most of those miles of blue flowers we see today came from chicory imported by colonists. Thomas Jefferson had some planted at Monticello in 1774, the seeds probably came from Italy. Foliage can be used as a vegetable or in a salad and the root can be roasted and ground to be used as coffee substitute or additive. Jefferson used it as a ground cover in this fields and as a cattle fodder and salad for the table.
By 1818, chicory was abundant in Phildelphia, the city of brotherly love. According to one of the pioneers of American Medicinal Botany, Dr. William Barton. Chicory advanced human health in ways totally unforeseen by the great classic herbalists, it caused such a scandal in nineteenth century that it inspired legislation.
CHICORY THE WEED OF THE 1800's - who knew...