Luffa - cucumber sponge, 8 seeds
Luffa is a genus of tropical and subtropical vines classified in the cucumber (Cucurbitaceae) family.
In everyday non-technical usage, the luffa, also spelled loofah, usually means the fruit of the two species Luffa aegyptiaca and Luffa acutangula. The fruit of these species is cultivated and eaten as a vegetable. The fruit must be harvested at a young stage of development to be edible. The vegetable is popular in China and Vietnam.When the fruit is fully ripened it is very fibrous. The fully developed fruit is the source of the loofah scrubbing sponge which is used in bathrooms and kitchens. Luffa are not frost-hardy, and require 150 to 200 warm days to mature.
The name luffa was borrowed by European botanists in the 17th century from the Egyptian Arabic name
Luffa are best eaten when small (less than 12 cm) and still green.
Luffa species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including Hypercompe albicornis. When it is young used as food and when it is mature and dry, cleared of all seeds and used as sponge for cleaning purposes. It is also widely used in steaming glutinous rice instead of cloth.