What Does A Loofah Gourd Look Like? - Knowledgebase Question

Shreveport, LA
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Question by wahanks
August 20, 2000
What is a Loofah gourd supposed to look like on the vine? Like a cucumber or different?

Earlier in the spring I started Picklebush, Sweet Sucess (both cukes), Pic N Pic Hybrid Squash and Loofah gourds. I started them all together in a seed starting flat and then planted the gourds away from the garden because someone told me that they would cross pollinate and that would not be good.

Everything died except the gourds. When the gourds set blossoms then fruit I became very curious because the gourds(?) looked, smelled and tasted like cucumbers (best we've ever eaten in fact). Most of the cukes/gourds either grew like regular cukes, but some of them grew in a circle shape (ends touching). There is one fruit, however, that is real long (I didn't see it for a long time as it was hiding in the nearby bushes) light green, with very dark green (almost black) pinstripes. It is narrow at the top and fatter at the end. Is this a gourd? Were the others?

Please let me know if you can solve the mystery.

Answer from NGA
August 20, 2000
They do look like a cuke on the vine, but I think they are a lighter green shade. Luffa acutangula is an edible gourd that is very common in Asia. It is shaped like a cuke, but has very distinct ridges. The bottom is wider than the top. There are other varieties that are smooth, such as Luffa cylindrica. If picked when young, it can be quite tasty, but when it matures, the interior becomes hard and stringy--what we know as the sponge. Luffa has a light yellow blossom that blooms during the day. I hope this helps with your mystery!

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