|Egyptian luffa fruit|
Luffa aegyptiaca, aka Egyptian cucumber, aka Vietnamese luffa, is a species of Luffa grown for its fruit. In English, luffa is also spelled loofah. The plant is an annual vine, native to South Asia and Southeast Asia. The about-30-cm-long fruit resembles a cucumber and the young fruit is eaten likewise as a vegetable and is commonly grown for that purpose in tropical Asia. Unlike the young fruit, the fully ripened fruit is strongly fibrous and inedible, and is used to make scrubbing bath sponges. Due to the use as a scrubbing sponge, it is also known by the common names dishrag gourd, rag gourd, sponge gourd, and vegetable-sponge. It is also called smooth luffa to distinguish it from the ridged luffa (Luffa acutangula), which is used for the same purposes.
Due to its big yellow flowers, Luffa aegyptiaca is occasionally grown as an ornamental.
Luffa aegyptiaca is best grown with a trellis support. It requires lots of heat and lots of water to thrive. In Vietnam, its native habitat, it is called mướp hương. Its botanical specific epithet "aegyptiaca" was given to it because in the 16th century European botanists were introduced to the plant from its cultivation in Egypt. In the European botanical literature, the plant was first described by Johann Veslingius in 1638, who called it "Egyptian Cucumber".
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||56 kJ (13 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||2.9 g|
|Vitamin A||260 IU|
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
- GRIN (May 10, 2000). "Luffa aegyptiaca information from NPGS/GRIN". Taxonomy for Plants.
- A Legacy of Luffa, by Elizabeth Harwick, who grows Luffa aegyptiaca successfully in South Carolina.
- De Plantis Aegyptiis, by Johann Veslingius, year 1638 page 48 (in Latin). Veslingius was also introducer of the name "Luffa"; more info at Luffa.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Luffa aegyptiaca.|
- Luffa aegyptiaca at Floridata
- Multilingual taxonomic information at the University of Melbourne
- Luffa.info: Info on growing and using Luffa egyptiaca as a scrubbing sponge]
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