Asparagus has fleshy spears topped with bud-like compact heads, prized for its succulent taste and tender texture. It is harvested in the spring when it is 6 to 8 inches tall. Only young asparagus shoots are commonly eaten: once the buds start to open, the shoots quickly turn woody and become strongly flavored. While the most common variety of asparagus is green in color, two other edible varieties are available. White asparagus, with its more delicate flavor and tender texture, is grown underground to inhibit its development of chlorophyll content, therefore creating its distinctive white coloring. The other edible variety of asparagus is purple in color. It is much smaller than the green or white variety (usually just 2 to 3 inches tall) and features a fruitier flavor. Asparagus is low in calories and provides substantial amounts of two antioxidants—vitamin A and C. Asparagus contains many anti-inflammatory nutrients, such as asparagus saponins and the flavonoids quercetin, rutin, laempferol and isorhamnetin, which all help to combat arthritis, asthma, and autoimmune disease. Asparagus also shines as a source of folate, fiber and Vitamin K.