The asparagus (Asparagus officinalis), or garden asparagus is a seasonal vegetable, only available in spring. It is a flowering, perennial plant species that belongs to the genus Asparagus.
In the past, the asparagus plant was classified as a lily species, like the related Allium species of onion and garlic. Nowadays the onion-like plants belong to the Amaryllidaceae and asparagus are classified as Asparagaceae. Asparagus officinales is an indigenous plant in most of Europe, western Asia and northern Africa.
Commercially it is an interesting vegetable crop and it is extensively cultivated. Asparagus are sold as ‘green asparagus’ and ‘white asparagus’. To produce white asparagus, the shoots are not exposed to the sun (they are covered with soil) and without this exposure, no photosynthesis takes place and thus the shoots remain white.