Endive leafy green is a perennial vegetable that belongs to the Asteraceae (daisy) family in the genus Cichorium, which includes similar leafed vegetables with a bitter flavor. It has canoe-shaped leaves. Fresh endive leafy green is great in salads. Raw endives are crisp and bitter but when cooked, its sharp flavor becomes mellow, nutty sweet. Endives also find other creative uses when juiced and blended with other veggies for a sweet or more neutral taste and vegetable wraps as the shape of its leaves are optimal for holding ingredients together.

There are three species of endives:

  1. Cichorium endivia: Most commonly called endives, they come in two forms – a narrow-leaved variety called curly endive and broader-leaved called escarole.
  2. Cichorium pumilum: Also called wild endives
  3. Cichorium intybus: Also called common chicory or leaf chicory, it is popular in Europe and includes Belgian endive, radicchio, Catalogna, or asparagus endive, and Puntarelle.

Endive is native to Asia Minor, Indonesia, and Egypt.