Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)
The spring growth of this edible plant resembles a cluster of green fingers. The mature plant has fernlike, wispy foliage and red berries. Its flowers are small and greenish in color. Several species have sharp, thornlike structures. The plant grows from 39-59 inches tall with stout stems and a feathery foliage. The flowers are bell-shaped, greenish-white to yellowish and less than a quarter inch long. The fruit is a small red berry which is poisonous to humans.
Edible Parts: Eat the young stems before leaves form (older stems turn woody). Stem thickness indicates the age of the plant which thicker stems coming from the older, woodier plants (sometimes the skin can be peeled at the base to remove this tough layer). Steam or boil them for 10 to 15 minutes before eating. Raw asparagus may cause nausea or diarrhea. The fleshy roots are a good source of starch.
WARNING Do not eat the fruits of any since some are toxic.