Asparagus is an important crop, both commercially and in home gardens. The plants are perennials. The underground portion consists of stems or rhizomes, and the edible aerial stems grow upward from them. Young "crowns" consisting of roots and rhizomes are grown from seed planted in beds and transplanted to the field. Fields with good care will produce for years. The tender, succulent aerial stems are cut for 2 to 3 months as they emerge in spring. Then cutting stops and they are allowed to grow to nourish the underground part for the following year's crop. Cutting may be deep in the soil with just the tip emerging for "white" or near the soil surface when spears are 6 to 8 inches high for "green" asparagus. Spears consist essentially of stem tissue only.
Production in the U.S.: 180,000 tons.
Use: As cooked vegetable, fresh, canned or frozen.
Part of plant consumed: Young, succulent sprouts only.