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Luffa acutangula (L.) Roxb.

Family Name: Cucurbitaceae
Synonyms: Cucumis acutangulus
Common Name: Angled Loofah, Ridged Gourd, Chinese Okra
Full Sun Moderate Water Bee-Attracting Plant Fruit or Vegetable Herb or Spice Climber, Vine and Liana


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Climber, Vine & Liana
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is an annual herbaceous climber.
Foliage Leaves pale green, simple, 5-7-angled or shallowly lobed with rough surfaces.
Stems Stem acutely five-angled with three or more hairy tendrils at each point where tendrils extend.
Flowers Flowers are pale yellow, 4-5 cm in diameter and unisexual. Male flowers are borne on stalks on unbranched elongated inflorescences, known as racemes, while female flowers are solitary and borne in the same leaf-axils as the male flowers. Flowers are fragrant, opening in the evening.
Fruits Matured fruit is dry and fibrous, splitting from a lid-like structure, known as an operculum, located at the apex of the fruit. Club-shaped and with ten prominent ribs running along its length, the fruit has a fibrous spongy skeleton network inside, containing numerous flattened seeds that are pitted and black without a narrow wing-like margin. Green in colour when young, the fruit turns dry and brown when mature, together with the disappearance of its soft internal tissue.
Others - Plant Morphology Luffa acutangula is one of the species from the Old World and is thought to have originated from India, where wild forms occur. Now cultivated in South and Southeast Asia, and occasionally in other tropical subtropical areas.
Habitat It typically grows in the low humid tropics, up to 500 m altitude. 
Cultivation Rich soils with high organic matter content, good drainage and pH values of 6.5 – 7.5 are preferred by Luffa acutangula. Sandy loams may also be used as a growing medium, but sufficient nutrients must be supplied. Frost-sensitive, Luffa acutangula is intolerant of too much water, with high rainfall especially harmful during flowering and fruiting seasons. Differences in daylength sensitivity exist amongst the cultivars, there being day-neutral, short-day and long-day cultivars. Luffa acutangula is propagated by seed.
Etymology Luffa, or loofah, is derived from the Arabic name, louff, for Luffa cylindrica, while the specific epithet, acutangula, means “with sharp edges”, referring to the prominent ridges of the fruit. 
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Fruits, Edible Leaves, Edible Flowers)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : Immature fruits, young leaves and flower buds of Luffa acutangula are used as vegetables. The young fruits are cooked or fried for use in soups or sliced and dried for later use. Young fruits from the sweet cultivars may be eaten raw like cucumbers or pickled if small in size. Mature fruits are fibrous, bitter and inedible, containing purgative substances. They are also little used, as compared to mature fruits of L. aegyptiaca, or the smooth loofah, from which loofah sponges are much easier to extract. ;Herb and Spice)
Medicinal ( The fibres, charred and fresh fruits, seeds, leaves and sap from the stem of Luffa acutangula have uses in medicine and cosmetics, particularly in Japan and China.)

Landscaping Features

Landscape Uses Vertical Greenery / Green Wall, Container Planting

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Bee-Attracting
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Bee))

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Propagation Method Seed


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Modification Foliar Tendril

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Unisexual Flowers
Flower & Plant Sexuality 2 Monoecious
Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Inflorescence Type Raceme

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Brown
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Capsule

Image Repository



Master ID 30679
Species ID 4988
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 19 September 2020.

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