Botanically it is known as Asparagus officinalis. It is an erect or climbing plant widely distributed from Siberia to South Africa. Some species such as the asparagus fern are often grown for their decorative value and one species is used in the flower trade, where it is called as 'sinilex'. The best known and the, most widely cultivated species, however, is the common or garden asparagus where tender shoots or spears are widely eaten as vegetable.
The green shoots are usually sold fresh, while the white ones are used mostly for canning and freezing. A typical asparagus plant rises in height from either a tuberous root system or an underground stem called rhizome. Unlike most other plants, the asparagus does not produce true leaves. Instead it bears cladodes that produce many small scale-like structures called cadophylls which perform the function of true leaves. The flower of the asparagus is greenish yellow in colour and about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in length. They are borne singly or in short spikes or flat-topped clusters and in the fall each flower ripens into a small red berry.
The green shoots are low in calories but contain relatively large amounts of calcium and phosphorus. They also contain vitamins A and C and niacin. It is very valuable in scurvy, rickets, anaemia, pellagra and low vitality.
Benefit and uses of Asparagus.
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