One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A small evergreen shrub with whitish stems, Asparagus albus (family Asparagaceae), native to parts of southern Europe and North Africa.
2Shoots of edible asparagus (A. officinalis) blanched by cultivation in the absence of light (usually by being earthed up).
Late 18th century; earliest use found in John Talbot Dillon (1734–1806), traveller and historian.
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