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Pakistan | Family List | Cucurbitaceae

9. Luffa Mill., Gard. Dict. Abridg. ed. 4. 1754. Benth. & Hook. f., Gen. Pl. 1:823. 1867; Clarke in Hook. f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 2:614. 1879; Cogn. in A. & C. DC., Monogr. Phan. 3:459. 1881; Hutch., Gen. Fl. Pl. 2: 400. 1967.


Annual, scandent, climbing or trailing, scabrous or hairy. Monoecious or dioecious. Tendrils proximally 3-6-fid, less often bifid. Leaves simple, palmately 5-7-lobed, rarely subentire, lamina sometimes gland-dotted. Petiole eglandular. Probracts at leaf axil, glandular. Flowers medium to large, yellow; male flowers racemose. Calyx-tube shortly campanulate, calyx lobes relatively large, enclosing petals in bud, entire. Petals 5, free. Stamens 3(5), all monothecous or one 1-locular and others 2-locular, filaments inserted on the tube, free; anthers free; connective broad, thecae marginal, much convoluted; female flowers solitary. Ovary smooth, ribbed, tuberculate or spiny, stigmas 3, bibbed; ovules many, horizontal, calyx-tube short. Fruit medium sized to large, subglobose to elongate-cylindrical, beaked, smooth, ribbed or sparsely to densely spiny with short to rather long spines, brownish, dry and fibrous, dehiscent by an apical operculum. Seeds medium-sized, distinctly compressed, oblong-elliptic in outline.

A genus of c. 6 species, two cultivated throughout the tropics and of doubtful origin (probably Old World), one tropical American and the rest are distributed in the Old World. Represented in Pakistan by 4 specific and infraspecific taxa.

1 Flowers pale to deep yellow. Fruit more than 5 cm long, without bristles   (2)
+ Flowers white. Fruit 2.5-3.0 cm long, densely covered with bristles   1 Luffa echinata
2 (1) Stamens 5. Flowers deep yellow. Fruit cylindrical, not angled, smooth, longitudinally striped. Seeds without beak, with c.l mm wide winged margin   2 Luffa Cylindrica
+ Stamens 3. Flowers pale yellow. Fruit clavate, acutely 10-angled. Seeds beaked, obscurely winged in beaked region   (3)
3 (2) Petals distincly emarginate. Fruit (10-) 15-30 (-45) cm long, 5-8 cm in diameter   3 Luffa acutangula var. acutangula
+ Petals round or scarcely emarginate. Fruit 5-8 cm long, 3-4 cm in diameter   3 Luffa acutangula var. amara

Lower Taxa

Related Synonym(s):


Related Objects  

Flora of China  
  • Luffa (PDF)
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