Luffa cylindrica (L.) M. Roem.

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Luffa cylindrica

Photo: Bart Wursten
Hot Springs, by lake

Luffa cylindrica

Photo: Bart Wursten
Hot Springs, by lake

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Synonyms: Luffa aegyptiaca Mill.
Common names: Chishambo (English) Loofah (English) Vegetable sponge (English)
Frequency: Occasional
Status: Doubtfully native in Zimbabwe but sometimes cultivated and escaping
Prostrate creeper or scandent climber, bearing tendrils. Leaves broadly ovate in outline, palmately 5-7-lobed with deeply and irregularly serrate margins. Flowers large, deep yellow, unisexual on the same plant. Fruit smooth, ellipsoid to cylindric, up to 25 cm long, dry when mature and opening by a small apical lid.
Notes: The outer skin and flesh of the fruit and the internal seeds are removed and the resulting hard fibrous object is used as a sponge and scourer.
Derivation of specific name: cylindrica: cylindric
Habitat: River and dam margins at middle and low altitudes
Altitude range: (metres) Up to 1500 m
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Widespread in tropics and subtropics
Zimbabwe distribution: N,W,E,S
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Thursday 7 September 2006

Jeffrey, C. (1978). Cucurbitaceae Flora Zambesiaca 4 Pages 454 - 455. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 38.

Other sources of information about Luffa cylindrica:

Our websites:

Flora of Mozambique: Luffa cylindrica
Flora of Mozambique: cultivated Luffa cylindrica
Flora of Zambia: Luffa cylindrica
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Luffa cylindrica

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Luffa cylindrica
African Plant Database: Luffa cylindrica
Biodiversity Explorer (Biodiversity of southern Africa): Luffa cylindrica
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Luffa cylindrica
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Luffa cylindrica
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Luffa cylindrica
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Luffa cylindrica
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Luffa cylindrica
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Luffa cylindrica
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Luffa cylindrica
Ispot Southern Africa: Luffa cylindrica
JSTOR Plant Science: Luffa cylindrica
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Luffa cylindrica
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Luffa cylindrica
The Plant List (version 1.1): Luffa cylindrica
Tropicos: Luffa cylindrica

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-18

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2018). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Luffa cylindrica., retrieved 18 March 2018

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