Radicchio is a European gourmet salad vegetable that has recently been introduced to the United States. It is a red, broadleaf, heading form of chicory. The burgundy red-colored leaves with white midribs are folded in such a manner as to resemble a small head of cabbage. Leaf texture is close to that of French endive, which is the most popular of the heading chicories.
Owing to similarity of names, radicchio frequently is confused with `Radichetta,' a narrow-leaf, nonheading variety of common chicory that also has red pigmentation. However, the two are quite different.
Two varieties of radicchio currently offered in seed company catalogs are 'Giulo' and 'Augusto.' 'Giulo' is suggested for most of the country as a spring and early summer vegetable, and for planting in the fall through winter in Florida. 'Augusto' is suggested for planting in late August for fall production. Both varieties were planted in west central Florida with fair results. About 80% of the plants produced marketable heads in 3–4 months of growing time. Bolting, tip-burn, and frequent failure to produce heads are major problems.
Cultural considerations for radicchio are discussed under Chicory.