This well known vine in the pumpkin family produces fruit that are edible when young. When fully ripe, and after cleaning and drying, the elongated fruit can be used as a natural sponge. The plant is easy to grow and responds to exactly the same care as cucumbers or pumpkins.
Luffa cylindrica, the sponge gourd, Egyptian cucumber or Vietnamese luffa, is an annual species of vine cultivated for its fruit, native to South and Southeast Asia.
The fruit, approximately 30 cm (12 in) long, resembles a cucumber in shape and size. Owing to its striking yellow flowers, Luffa cylindrica is occasionally grown as an ornamental.
The young fruit is eaten as a vegetable and is commonly grown for that purpose in tropical Asia. Due to the use as a scrubbing sponge, it is also known by the common names dishrag gourd, rag gourd, sponge gourd, and vegetable-sponge. It is also called smooth luffa to distinguish it from the ridged luffa (Luffa acutangula), which is used for the same purposes.