seeds of Luffa cylindrica, Egyptian cucumber

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Luffa cylindrica Samen
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Luffa cylindrica, which also goes by the name ‘Egyptian cucumber,’ is an annual plant species of the family Cucurbitaceae. Synonyms include Luffa aegyptiaca, Cucurbita luffa, and Luffa petandra. Other common names for the species are Sponge guard and Vietnamese luffa. The original home of the plant is in South East Asia and South Asia. The species earned the name ‘Egyptian cucumber’ from a group of European botanists. Having visited Egypt in the 16 century, the botanists discovered that the vine was already being cultivated and named it so. Luffa cylindrical is a fast growing vine whose leaves can reach a length of 7 to 20 cm. Leaves are green and 3-lobed while flowers have a bright yellow colour. Upon pollination, flowers sprout large fruits that can grow to a length of 60 cm. Each fruit has a smooth surface and a cylindrical or oblong shape with numerous seeds inside it. Upon maturity, the fruit adopts a brown colour, gets spongy and becomes inedible. One should do the harvesting of the fruit while it’s young to ensure that maturity doesn’t interfere with its edibility. Maturity turns the vegetable into a fibrous mass that can only be used to make bath sponges. This sort of utility in the bathroom has earned the fruit some names including sponge gourd, dishrag gourd, and vegetable sponge. An additional name for the plant is ‘smooth luffa.’ A name whose purpose is to differentiate it from Luffa acutangula which goes by the name ridged luffa. The many seeds from the fruit contain an edible oil that can be extracted from them and used to feed catfish and rabbits. The oil can also be used to make fertiliser. Luffa cylindrica is considered an invasive species and one must have this in mind in case he/she would like to cultivate the plant.
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