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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 6 | Cucurbitaceae | Luffa

2. Luffa aegyptiaca Miller, Gard. Dict. ed. 8. Luffa no. 1. 1768.
[F I]

Sponge or dishcloth gourd, smooth luffa Sponge or dishcloth gourd, smooth luffa

Momordica luffa Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1009. 1753

Vines climbing or trailing to 15 m; tendrils 3–6-branched; stems not angled, finely hairy or glabrous. Leaves: petiole 2–15 cm; blade dark green, ovate-cordate, (3–)5-lobed, 6–20(–30) × 6–25 cm, lobes triangular to ovate, margins entire or sinuate to sinuate-toothed or sublobulate-dentate, apex acute-apiculate, surfaces scabrous. Staminate racemes (5–)15–20-flowered, 12–35 cm; peduncles and pedicels erect to spreading. Flowers 5–10 cm diam.; hypanthium 4–8 mm, sepals longer than tube; petals bright yellow, 25–45 mm, apex shallowly obtuse to obtuse-apiculate; stamens (3–)5; filaments 6–8 mm. Pepos cylindric, not angled, (6–)20–50 × (2.5–)6–10 cm. Seeds dull black, not beaked, 10–12 × 6–8 mm, surface smooth, glabrous, margins with wings ca. 1 mm wide. 2n = 26.

Flowering Aug–Oct. Gardens, fields, trash heaps, cultivated in home gardens, abandoned plantings; 10–100 m; introduced; Fla., Ga., Ill., La., N.C., S.C., Tex., Va.; Asia (India, Pakistan); introduced also in Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America, elsewhere in Asia, Africa, Pacific Islands, Australia.

The later name Luffa cylindrica, incorrectly attributed to (Linnaeus) M. Roemer, has been widely and erroneously applied to L. aegyptiaca.


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