Luffa cylindrica

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Photographs by: Dr. Maulik Gadani

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  • Botanical Name : Luffa cylindrica (L.) M. Roem.
  • Synonyms : Momordica cylindrica L., Luffa aegyptiaca Mill.
  • Common Name : Galka, Bath Sponge Gourd
  • Plant Family : Cucurbitaceae
  • Plant Form : Climbers
  • Occurrence (Sectors) : 13, 22, 23

About Luffa cylindrica Plant :

  • Habit : A large monoecious climber, with stem angled and twisted, tendrils trifid.
  • Leaves : Orbicular-reniform, palmately 5-lobed, dentate, base cordate.
  • Inflorescence : Axillary or solitary
  • Flowers :
    • Male flowers in axillary 4-20-flowered racemes, flowers crowded at the apex, each with a small bract.
    • Calyx-lobes 5, lanceolate.
    • Petals 5, free, obovate oblong, yellow.
    • Stamens 5, distinct.Female flowers solitary.
    • Calyx and corolla same as in male flowers.
    • Staminodes usually 5.
    • Ovary inferior, cylindric-oblong, placentas 3, ovule (many, horizontal).
    • Style columnar, stigma 3-lobed.
  • Fruit : Pepo, big cylindric, blunt at both ends marked with longitudinal lines, opening at the apex by a lid, seeds many, embedded in pulp.
  • Flowering and Fruiting Time : July-September
  • Significance :
    • Cultivated for its fruits used as vegetable.
    • The fibrous network of the dry fruits is used as bath-brush.
    • The seeds are emetic and cathartic.