I’ve known about chicory as a coffee substitute since I was a kid. In my mind, it’s always being drunk by cowboys out on the range who can’t get real coffee. I had no idea it came from a plant with such a pretty flower.

These are growing along much of my route to work, but are especially abundant on Ogden Avenue at the crossing of the Canadian National (formerly EJ&E1) tracks, which is where I took this photo. (Clicking on the photo will take you to its Flickr page where you can see the location on a map.)

I identified flower by going to the online Audubon Wildflower Guide and searching by region, color, and flowering month. The chicory page has a great set of photos that made identification a snap. It says they flower from March through October, but here they’ve only been out for the past week or two. The Guide says their habitat is “fields, roadsides, and waste places,” which certainly fits where I’m seeing them.

This railroad crossing also has a nice old concrete marker I photographed last year.

  1. My maternal grandfather was a track maintenance man on “The J” and probably worked right where I took this picture.