Cichorium endivia Linn. Compositae. Endive.
Europe and the Orient. This is a widely distributed plant, probably of East Indian origin, where certainly, says Unger, "The same plant is met with wild about Patna and Kamaon, as well as in Nepal." Others deem it a native plant of Sicily. It was used as an esculent from a very early period by the Egyptians and was known to the Greeks Ovid mentions it in his tale of Philemon and Bauds, Columella also refers to it as common in his day, and Pliny states it was eaten in his time as a salad and as a potherb. It was in cultivation in England as early as 1548. It is not known when the endive was first used in the United States, but McMahon, 1806, mentions the Green Curled, White Curled and the Broad-leaved in cultivation. In 1828 and 1881, Thorbum offers the seed of these varieties only.
There are two distinct forms of endive, the curled and the broad-leaved. The first does not seem to have been known to the ancients, although Dioscorides and Pliny name two kinds. In the thirteenth century, Albertus Magnus names also two kinds, the one with narrower leaves than the other; and in 1542 Fuchsius figures two kinds of like description, and like forms are noted in nearly all the earlier botanies. A curled, broad-leaved form is figured by Camerarius, 1586; Dalechamp, 1587; and Gerarde, 1597. Endive is described in the Adversarial 1570. The authors named furnish what may reasonably be considered as the types of the four kinds of broad-leaved endives described by Vilmorin. The origin of the curled endives, of which Vilmorin describes twelve, is difficult to trace. The peculiar truncate appearance of the seed-stalks is very conspicuous, and this feature would lead one to suspect that the type is to be seen in the Seris sativa of Lobel, but the resemblances are quite remote. This is the Cichorium latioris folii of Dodonaeus, 1616. The endives were in English gardens as well-known plants in 1778 and were named among seedsmen's supplies in 1726. They were in the United States prior to 1806.
Cichorium intybus Linn. Barbe De Capuchin. Chicory. Succory. Witloof.
Europe and the Orient. Wild chicory has been used from time immemorial as a salad-plant and, forced in darkness, affords the highly-esteemed vegetable in France known as barbe de capuchin. It has also large-rooted varieties and these, when treated in like manner, form the vegetable known in Belgium as witloof.
Whether chicory was cultivated by the ancients there is reason to doubt, although they knew the wild plant and its uses as a vegetable. It is not mentioned in the descriptive list of garden vegetables in use in the thirteenth century, as given by Albertus Magnus. Ruellius, 1535, mentions two kinds but does not imply cultivation; nor does Fuchsius 1542, who likewise names two kinds, one of which is our dandelion. It is treated of by Tragus, 1552; Matthiolus, 1558; the Adversarial 1570; Lobel, 1576; Camerarius, 1586; Dalechamp, 1587; Gerarde, 1597; but with no mention of cultivation. Although not mentioned in Lyte's translation of Dodonaeus, 1586, as cultivated, yet, in Dodonaeus' Pemptades, 1616, it is said not only to occur wild throughout all Germany but to be cultivated in gardens. This is the first mention of culture noted. In 1686, Ray says "it is sown in gardens and occurs wild in England." The seed occurs among seedsmen's supplies in 1726.
At the present time, chicory is grown for the use of its leaves in salads and for its root to be used as an adulterant for coffee. The smooth, tapering root, which seems such an improved form in our modern varieties, is beautifully figured by Camerarius in 1586. The common chicory grown for salads is but the wild plant little changed and with the divided leaves as figured by the herbalists. The entire-leaved form with a tendency to a red midrib also occurs in nature and may be considered as the near prototype of the Magdeburg large-rooted and of the red Italian sorts. The variegated chicory, the curled-leaved and the broad-leaved may have their prototypes in nature if sought for but at present must remain unexplained. The common, the spotted-leaved and the large-rooted were in French culture in 1826.