Luffa cylindrica (Vegetable Sponge Gourd)
Luffa cylindrica (L.) Rox.
Luffa fluminensis M.J. Roem.; Cucumis acutangulus L.; Cucurbita acutangula (L.) Blume; Luffa foetida Cav.; Luffa plukenetiana Ser.; Luffa hermaphrodita Singh & Bandhari; Momordica luffaVell.
Smooth luffa, sponge luffa, vegetable sponge gourd, climbing okra, dishcloth gourd, Chinese okra
Luffa cylindrica is native to India
Naturalised distribution (global)
Locations within which Luffa cylindrica is naturalised include eastern Africa and some Pacific islands.
Introduced, naturalised or invasive in East Africa
Luffa cylindrica is naturalised in parts of Kenya and Tanzania and invasive in parts of Uganda (A.B.R. Witt pers. obs.).
Forest gaps and edges, agricultural lands and other disturbed areas.
Luffa cylindrica is a very fast growing climber. Its leaves are 7 - 20 cm across and have three lobes. Flowers are bright yellow. The fruits which grow to about 60 cm in length are oblong or cylindrical, smooth and contain many seeds. The fruit is brown when mature and dries on the vine to develop an inedible sponge-like structure.
Economic and other uses
The dry fruit of Luffa cylindrica can be used as a sponge. Young green fruits can be boiled and eaten as a vegetable.
Environmental and other impacts
This species is capable of invading disturbed areas.
The precise management measures adopted for any plant invasion will depend upon factors such as the terrain, the cost and availability of labour, the severity of the infestation and the presence of other invasive species.
The best form of invasive species management is prevention. If prevention is no longer possible, it is best to treat the weed infestations when they are small to prevent them from establishing (early detection and rapid response). Controlling the weed before it seeds will reduce future problems. Control is generally best applied to the least infested areas before dense infestations are tackled. Consistent follow-up work is required for sustainable management.
The editors could find no specific information on the management of this species.
Not listed as a noxious weed by the state or governments in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). www.ars-grin.gov/npgs/index.html. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, National Genetic Resources Program, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Beltsville, Maryland, USA. Accessed March 2011.
Heiser C. B. and Schilling E. E. 1988. Phylogeny and Distribution of Luffa (Cucurbitaceae), Biotropica 20(3): 185-191.
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). Luffa acutangula datasheet: plant threats to Pacific ecosystems. Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, Hawaii, www.hear.org/pier. Accessed March 2011.
Agnes Lusweti, National Museums of Kenya; Emily Wabuyele, National Museums of Kenya, Paul Ssegawa, Makerere University; John Mauremootoo, BioNET-INTERNATIONAL Secretariat - UK.
This fact sheet is adapted from The Environmental Weeds of Australia by Sheldon Navie and Steve Adkins, Centre for Biological Information Technology, University of Queensland. We recognise the support from the National Museums of Kenya, Tropical Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI) - Tanzania and Makerere University, Uganda. This activity was undertaken as part of the BioNET-EAFRINET UVIMA Project (Taxonomy for Development in East Africa).
BioNET-EAFRINET Regional Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org
Luffa acutangula is commercially grown for its unripe fruits as a vegetable. Mature fruits are used as natural cleaning sponges. Its fruit slightly resembles a cucumber or zucchini with ridges. It ranges from central and eastern Asia to southeastern Asia. It is also grown as a houseplant in places with colder climates. English common names include angled luffa, Chinese okra, dish cloth gourd, ridged gourd, sponge gourd, vegetable gourd, strainer vine, ribbed loofah, silky gourd, ridged gourd, silk gourd, and sinkwa towelsponge.
The young fruit of some cultivars are used as cooked vegetables or pickled or eaten raw, and the shoots and flowers are sometimes also used. Like Luffa aegyptica, the mature fruits are harvested when dry and processed to remove all but the fruit fibre, which can then be used as a sponge or as fibre for making hats.
Names in other languages
- Odia: ଜନ୍ହୀ janhi
- Assamese: জিকা (zika[verification needed]Assamese pronunciation: [zika])
- Bengali as jhingge (ঝিঙে) or jhinga (ঝিঙ্গা) 
- Burmese: ဗြူးဒါး [bjú dá]; also ပုံလုံ [bòʊɴ lòʊɴ]
- Hindi: तोरई, तुरई torai, turai
- Gujarati: તુરીયા turiya
- Kannada: ಹೀರೆಕಾಯಿ Heere kaayi
- Tagalog: Patola
- Khmer: ននោងជ្រុង ( [nɔnooŋ cruŋ])
- Lao: ລອຽ ([lɔ́ːj]) or mark noy (ໝາກນອຍ)
- Vietnamese: mướp khía
- Tamil: peerkangai
- Telugu: beera kaaya
- Thai: บวบเหลี่ยม (RTGS: buap liam, pronounced [bùa̯p lìa̯m])
- Marathi: दोडकी dodaki
- Konkani: gossale
- Indonesian: gambas, oyong
- Javanese: oyong
- Mandarin Chinese: 广东丝瓜 (pinyin: guǎngdōngsīguā)
- Cantonese Chinese: 絲瓜 or 勝瓜 sin qua or sing kwa(Australian spelling), Ling Jiao Si Gua, You Lin Si Gua, Sze Gwa, Sigwa,
- Hokkian: Kak kuey
- Malayalam: peechinga
- Malay: petola segi
- Sinhalese: වැටකොලු watakolu
- Japanese: ito uri, tokado hechima
- ^"The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
- ^ abcM.M.P.N.D. - Sorting Luffa names. Plantnames.unimelb.edu.au (2000-02-06). Retrieved on 2014-05-26.
- ^ abLuffa Angled. Kitazawaseed.com (2014-01-22). Retrieved on 2014-05-26.
- ^Ridged Skin Luffa. Evergreenseeds.com. Retrieved on 2014-05-26.
- ^"Luffa acutangula". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
- ^ abGrubben, G.J.H.; Africa, P.R.o.T. (2004). Vegetables. Backhuys. ISBN 9789057821479.
- ^Dash, N. S., (2005), Corpus linguistics and language technology: with reference to Indian languages, Mittal Publication, India, p. 188.
- ^Niir Board, Compendium of medicinal plants, National Institute of Industrial Research, India, p. 358.
- ^Ong, H. C., (2008), Vegetables for health and healing, Utusan Publications & Distributors Sdn Bhd, Kuala Lumpur, p. 30.