asparagus originated from a region around Albenga, Italy. This "cultivar"
is known as Violetto d/Albenga. Although the spears are of deep purple
color, the ferns are actually green. The farmers in Albenga region propagate
the plants using seeds from open pollination. Seeds are usually collected
from vigorous female plants producing large spears.
Purple hybrids produce larger spears but fewer in number per plant than
the green hybrids.
Purple asparagus is much sweeter and more tender than green asparagus.
Thus, it is very suitable for use in salad.
Purple asparagus retains its color after brief cooking such as quick
sautéing. But it loses its purple and changes to green if subjected
to prolonged cooking.
Several commercial purple asparagus hybrids have been developed using
the germplasm of Violetto d/Albenga. These hybrids are from crosses
of multiple female and male parents.
Major problems with Violetto d/Albenga and the commercial hybrids available
to day are high susceptibility to asparagus rust and relatively low