1. Luffa echinata Roxb., Fl. Ind. 3:716. 1832. Cogn., l.c. 1881; Clarke, l.c. 615; Cogn. & Harms in Engler, Das Pflanzenr. 4, 275. 2:73. 1924; Cooke, Fl. Pres. Bomb. (reprint ed.) 1:567. 1958; Chakravarty in Rec. Bot. Surv. Ind. 17(1):77. 1959; R.R. Stewart in Nasir & Ali, Ann. Cat. Vasc. Pl. W. Pak. & Kashm. 705. 1972; C. Jeffrey in Kew Bull. 34:791. 1980.
S. NAZIMUDDIN AND S. SHAHARYAR H. NAQVI
A climber with bifid puberulous or glabrous tendrils. Stem sulcate, slightly hairy to glabrous. Leaves reniform, suborbicular, obscurely or deeply 5-lobed, apex round or rarely acute, scabrous on both surfaces, margin minutely denticulate. Petiole stout, puberulous, up to 12 cm long. Flowers white, pedicellate, c. 2.5 cm across; male flowers in 5-12-flowered, up to 15 cm long raceme; calyx tube c. 5.6 mm long, hairy, lobes lanceolate, acute. Petals ovate, 1-1.2 cm long, obtuse, hairy at the base. Stamens 3, filaments united, c. 3-9 mm long, obtuse, hairy at the base, anthers entire or ± bifid. Ovary ovoid. Fruit ashy, oblong, ovoid, 2-5 cm long, densely covered with c. 4-7 mm long bristles. Seeds ovate, black, slightly verrucose, emarginate, c. 4-5 mm long, 3-5 mm broad and c. 2 mm thick.
Fl. Per.: August-September.
Lectotype: l.c. Roxb. 1694 (K).
Distribution: Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Northern Tropical Africa.
The fruit is intensely bitter and used medicinally.