Asparagus is a herbaceous, perennial vegetable that grows to 100 - 150cm tall. However it is only the young tender shoots that are eaten. It's Latin name is Asparagus officinalis and it is native to most of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. It has been eaten for at least 20,000 years and as well as a vegetable it has been used as a medicine and an aphrodisiac.
Asparagus is low in calories and very low in sodium. It is a good source of dietary fibre and vitamin B6. It also has trace minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, selenium and chromium.
In Britain Asparagus is only in season for a short period traditionally from 23 April to midsummer day in June.