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Luffa aegyptiaca

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Title: Luffa aegyptiaca  
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Subject: Sponge (material), Gourd, Cucurbitaceae, List of Thai ingredients, Curry
Collection: Cucurbitaceae, Fiber Plants, Fruit Vegetables
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Luffa aegyptiaca

Luffa aegyptiaca
Egyptian luffa fruit
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Cucurbitales
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Luffa
Species: L. aegyptiaca
Binomial name
Luffa aegyptiaca
  • Cucurbita luffa hort.
  • Luffa cylindrica M.Roem.
  • Luffa aegyptica (lapsus)
  • Luffa pentandra Roxb.
  • Momordica cylindrica L.
  • Momordica luffa L.

Luffa aegyptiaca , sponge gourd,[2] Egyptian cucumber, and also known as Vietnamese luffa, for Vietnam is its native habitat (Vietnamese: mướp hương), is a species of Luffa grown for its fruit. The plant is an annual vine, native to South Asia and Southeast Asia.


  • Etymology 1
  • Description and cultivation 2
  • Uses 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The botanical specific epithet "aegyptiaca" was given to this plant in the 16th century when European botanists were introduced to the plant from its cultivation in Egypt. In the European botanical literature, the plant was first described by Johann Veslingius in 1638, who named it "Egyptian cucumber". Veslingius also introduced the name "Luffa".[3]

Description and cultivation

The about-30-cm-long fruit resembles a cucumber in shape and size. Owing to its striking yellow flowers, Luffa aegyptiaca is occasionally grown as an ornamental.

Luffa aegyptiaca is best grown with a trellis support.[4] It requires lots of heat and lots of water to thrive.


The young fruit is eaten as a vegetable and is commonly grown for that purpose in tropical Asia. Unlike the young fruit, the fully ripened fruit is strongly fibrous and inedible, and is used to make scrubbing bath sponges. Due to the use as a scrubbing sponge, it is also known by the common names dishrag gourd, rag gourd, sponge gourd, and vegetable-sponge.[1] It is also called smooth luffa to distinguish it from the ridged luffa (Luffa acutangula), which is used for the same purposes.[1]

The fibrous skeleton of the fruit is used as a household scrubber. The fiber is Xylem. It has semi-coarse texture and good durability.
Sponges made of sponge gourd for sale alongside sponges of animal origin (Spice Bazaar at Istanbul, Turkey, September 2008).
Dishcloth gourd, cooked, no salt
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 56 kJ (13 kcal)
14.34 g
Sugars 5.17 g
Dietary fiber 2.9 g
0.34 g
0.66 g
Vitamin A 260 IU
Thiamine (B1)
0.046 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.042 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.26 mg
Vitamin B6
0.099 mg
Folate (B9)
12 μg
Vitamin C
5.7 mg
Vitamin E
0.24 mg
Vitamin K
1.7 μg
9 mg
0.36 mg
20 mg
31 mg
453 mg
21 mg
0.17 mg

Link to USDA Database entry
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database


  1. ^ a b c d
  2. ^
  3. ^ , 1638. p. 48 (in Latin)De Plantis AegyptiisJohann Veslingius,
  4. ^ A Legacy of Luffa, by Elizabeth Harwick, who grows Luffa aegyptiaca successfully in South Carolina.

External links

  • at FloridataLuffa aegyptiaca
  • Multilingual taxonomic information at the University of Melbourne
  • as a scrubbing spongeLuffa Info on growing and using ]
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