Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

asparagus is the young shoot of a curious plant, Asparagus officinalis, of the lily family. There are several other Asparagus spp, native to various parts of the Old World.

The wild form of A. officinalis grows in marshy places in Europe, e.g. in Poland and Russia. In the cultivated form, selective breeding and special growing techniques have combined to give a greatly thickened, fleshy shoot which has been prized as a delicacy since ancient times. However, the much thinner shoots of wild asparagus are often edible and are still eaten.