Here's a shot of wild chicory, Cichorium intybus, growing in upstate New York:
It may not surprise you that chicory has been used as a coffee substitute. More specifically, the root is dried and ground, then used as coffee, historically when times are tough. Of course, if you go to New Orleans, you can buy coffee that is specially blended with chicory and favored by residents. It's not, however, recommended that you go around pulling roots up when you see this plant growing wild; the chicory that is cultivated for its roots is a variety called Cichorium intybus var. sativum.
Another species in the Cichorium genus is Cichorium endivia, or endive. Given the fact that with Chichorium you could not only fashion yourself a cup of coffee, but a tasty salad too, this plant truly merits some attention and appreciation.