Luffa (Luffa acutangula, Luffa aegyptiaca)

Luffa (Luffa acutangula, Luffa aegyptiaca)
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The Luffa or Loofah/Lufah (from Arabic لوف) are tropical and subtropical annual vines comprising the genus Luffa. The fruit of at least two species, Luffa acutangula and Luffa aegyptiaca, is grown to be harvested before maturity and eaten as a vegetable, popular in Asia and Africa.

The Luffa acutangula is commonly known as Ridged Gourd and is called জিকা “zika” in Assamese, 丝瓜 si1gua1 in Mandarin Chinese, Turai in Hindi, Gisoda in Gujarati, Beerakaya in Telugu, heeray kAyi in Kannada, wetakolu in Sinhala, mướp khía in Vietnamese language, patola in Tagalog, kabatiti in Ilocano, and gambas or oyong in Indonesia.

The fruit of L. aegyptiaca may also be allowed to mature and used as a bath or kitchen sponge after being processed to remove everything but the network of xylem. This version is called Lifah in Arabic, ভোল bhol in Assamese, dhundul in Bengali, ghiya tori or nerua in Hindi or “peerkankai” in Tamil or “beera kaya” in Telugu

Luffa species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Hypercompe albicornis.

A Luffa or Loofah sponge is used like a body scrub. Both the coarse textured sponge and the soft textured sponge are called Luffas or Loofahs.