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Luffa Linn.


Description from Flora of China

Herbs, scandent, annual, glabrous or puberulent. Tendrils bi- or multifid. Petiole eglandular; leaf blade usually 5-7-lobed. Plants monoecious. Male flowers in a raceme; calyx tube obconical; segments 5, triangular or lanceolate; corolla segments 5, free, spreading, entire or erose; stamens 3 or 5, free; anthers: one 1-celled, other 2-celled or all 1-celled when stamens 5; anther cells linear, sigmoid-flexuous; connective usually dilated; pistillode glandular or absent. Female flowers solitary; calyx and corolla as in male flowers; staminodes 3, or rarely 4 or 5; ovary cylindric; ovules numerous, horizontal; stigmas 3. Fruit oblong or cylindric, terete or acutely costate, smooth or echinate, inside fibrous, apex operculately dehiscent. Seeds numerous, oblong, compressed.

Six species: tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world; two species (both introduced) in China.

(Authors: Lu Anmin (路安民 Lu An-ming); Charles Jeffrey)


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