Luffa operculata

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Luffa operculata
Luffa operculata 07.JPG
Dried fruit, opened
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Cucurbitales
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Luffa
Species: L. operculata
Binomial name
Luffa operculata
Luffa operculata - MHNT

Luffa operculata (common name, sponge cucumber, wild loofa or mướp xơ in Vietnamese) is a species of Luffa. It is cultivated for its fruit, which when fully ripe is strongly fibrous and is used as a fibrous scrubbing sponge for household cleaning. The fruit is a capsule with spikes. The fruit is dark-brown when mature. It is also grown in gardens and yards as an ornamental plant. In colder places they can be grown indoors as a houseplant.

The species name is derived from the word, operculum, meaning "little lid." When the fruits are mature, and the seeds are ready to be dispersed, a small part of the bottom tip (blossom end) opens up. Then, the seeds fall to the ground.

Increasing stages of maturity of Luffa operculata fruit. The seeds are also shown.

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