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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 19 | Cucurbitaceae | Luffa

1. Luffa aegyptiaca Miller, Gard. Dict., ed. 8. Luffa no. 1. 1768.

丝瓜 si gua

Momordica luffa Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1009. 1753; Luffa cylindrica (Linnaeus) M. Roemer; M. cylindrica Linnaeus.

Stem and branches scabrous, sulcate-angular, puberulent. Tendrils rather robust, usually 2-4-fid. Petiole 10-12 cm, scabrous, subglabrous; leaf blade triangular or suborbicular, 10-20 × 10-20 cm, often palmately 5-7-lobed; lobes triangular, median lobe 8-12 cm, base deeply cordate, margin dentate, apex acute or acuminate; sinus 2-3 cm deep, 2-2.5 cm wide. Male flowers usually 15-20 in a raceme; peduncle somewhat robust, 12-14 cm, pubescent; pedicels 1-2 cm; calyx broadly campanulate, 5-9 mm, puberulent; segments reflexed above, ovate-lanceolate or subtriangular, 8-13 × 4-7 mm, densely puberulent, 3-veined, apex acuminate; corolla yellow, rotate, 5-9 cm in diam.; segments oblong, 2-4 × 2-2.8 cm, inside densely yellow-white villous, base attenuate, apex rounded-obtuse. Stamens usually 5, rarely 3; filaments 6-8 mm, base white pubescent, connate at first, later free. Female flowers solitary; pedicel 2-10 cm; ovary narrowly cylindric, puberulent; stigmas expanded. Fruit cylindric, straight or slightly curved, 15-45 × 3-6 cm, smooth, ecostate, inside strongly fibrous when mature. Seeds usually black, ovate, smooth or very sparingly tuberculate, margin slightly winged. Fl. and fr. summer and autumn.

Commonly cultivated in China [widely cultivated throughout tropical and temperate regions].

The fruit is eaten as a vegetable.


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