Luffa cylindrica (L.) M. Roem.

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Luffa cylindrica

Male flowers
Katanga Province, DRC
Dec 2007
Photo: Jos Stevens

Luffa cylindrica

Katanga Province, DRC
Dec 2007
Photo: Jos Stevens

Luffa cylindrica

Katanga Province, DRC
Jul 2008
Photo: Jos Stevens

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Synonyms: Luffa aegyptiaca Mill.
Common names:
Status: Doubtfully native
Prostrate creeper or scandent climber, bearing tendrils. Leaves broadly ovate in outline, palmately 5-7-lobed with deeply and irregularly serrate margins. Flowers large, deep yellow, unisexual on the same plant. Fruit smooth, ellipsoid to cylindric, up to 25 cm long, dry when mature and opening by a small apical lid.
Type location:
a cultivated plant
Notes: The outer skin and flesh of the fruit and the internal seeds are removed and the resulting hard fibrous object is used as a sponge and scourer.
Derivation of specific name: cylindrica: cylindric
Habitat: River and dam margins at middle and low altitudes
Altitude range: Up to 1500 m
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Widespread in tropics and subtropics
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): N,C,E,S
Zambian distribution (Provinces): N,E,Lk,S
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Content last updated: Monday 17 September 2018

Jeffrey, C. (1978). Cucurbitaceae Flora Zambesiaca 4 Pages 454 - 455. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 38.

Other sources of information about Luffa cylindrica:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Luffa cylindrica
Flora of Malawi: Luffa cylindrica
Flora of Malawi: cultivated Luffa cylindrica
Flora of Mozambique: Luffa cylindrica
Flora of Mozambique: cultivated Luffa cylindrica
Flora of Zimbabwe: Luffa cylindrica
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Luffa cylindrica

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Luffa cylindrica
African Plant Database: Luffa cylindrica
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Luffa cylindrica
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Luffa cylindrica
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Luffa cylindrica
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Luffa cylindrica
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Luffa cylindrica
JSTOR Plant Science: Luffa cylindrica
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Luffa cylindrica
Plants of the World Online: Luffa cylindrica
Tropicos: Luffa cylindrica
Wikipedia: Luffa cylindrica

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-24

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2024). Flora of Zambia: Species information: Luffa cylindrica., retrieved 24 April 2024

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