• The word ‘asparagus’ is derived from the Greek word ‘aspharagos’ meaning ‘sprout’ or ‘shoot’. • As well as green and purple varieties, white asparagus can be grown entirely underground. This prevents sunlight from reaching the asparagus, stopping photosynthesis. This inhibits the production of chlorophyll – the pigment that gives plants their green colour. • Asparagus is a member of the Lily family and is related to onion, leeks, chives and garlic. • It takes a lot of patience to grow asparagus – it takes around three years for it to reach full maturity. • The top producer of asparagus is China – the country produces nearly 7 million tons of the vegetable every year.