Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Luffa aegyptiaca
Mill., Cucurbitaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Other Latin names:  Luffa cylindrica M. Roem.; Luffa pentandra Roxb.; Momordica cylindrica L.; Momordica luffa L.

Common name(s): [more details]

Chamorro: pachodag

Chinese: si gua

Chuukese: mororof

English: climbing okra, dish-cloth gourd, dishrag gourd, loofah, rag gourd, scrubber gourd, smooth loofah, smooth luffa, sponge cucumber, sponge gourd, sponge luffa, towel gourd, vegetable sponge, wild vegetable sponge

French: courge torchon, éponge végétale, gourde serviette, papengaye, pétole

Japanese: hechima

Korean: susemioi

Maori (Cook Islands): pō‘ue, pō‘ue, pō‘ue, puru

Pohnpeian: rapkord, sehl-lap, selinahp, sellap

Samoan: meleni vao, meleni vao

Spanish: calabazo, esponga, esponja, estropajo, paste

Tahitian: aroro, atiuaea, huaroro, huerhaho

Tongan: fangu ‘a kuma, mafa‘i

Wallisian: mafa‘i

Habit:  vine

Description:  "Vigorous climbing herb with branched tendrilsLeaves to ca 25 cm long.  Lamina broad ovate in outline, scabrous, lobes mucronate, 5-7, the basal pair often very shallow and barely distinguishable from the mucronate marginal teeth, base forming a deep rounded sinus.  Flowers yellow, to ca 8 cm across, male racemose, female solitary.  Peduncle and furrowed ovary tomentose.  Fruit more or less oblong, 30 cm or more long when mature, shallowly furrowed, a network of fibres inside.  Seed broad ellipsoid, 13-15 mm long" (Sykes, 1970; pp. 78-79).

Habitat/ecology:  "Uncommon in coastal and lowland disturbed places" (Whistler, 1988; p. 16). In New Caledonia, "présente depuis longtemps, est peu courante aujourd'hui dans les jardins et la végétation secondaire. Une forme à petits fruits est spontanée aux îles isolées Hunter et Surprise" (MacKee, 1994; p. 46).

Propagation:  Seed

Native range:  Old World, now widely cultivated and naturalized in many tropical areas (Smith, 1981; p. 682).  "The common form that is cultivated and often naturalized in Pacific archipelagoes, usually indicated as var. insularum, was probably an aboriginal introduction that may have been variously modified by selection, but it scarcely seems to merit nomenclatural separation from L. cylindrica [=aegyptiaca]." (Smith, 1981; p. 682)  "Probably an aboriginal introduction to Polynesia" (Whistler, 1988; p. 16).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
American Samoa
Manu‘a Islands
Ofu Island   Whistler, W. A. (1980) (p. 159)
American Samoa
Manu‘a Islands
Ofu Island   Whistler, W. A. (1990)
Vouchers cited: Garber 1119, Yuncker 9560
American Samoa
Manu‘a Islands
Ofu Island   Yuncker, T. G. (1945) (p. 66)
Vouchers cited: Yuncker 9560 (BISH), Garber 1119 (BISH)
American Samoa
Manu‘a Islands
Olosega Island   Whistler, W. A. (1980) (p. 159)
American Samoa
Manu‘a Islands
Olosega Island   Whistler, W. A. (1990)
Voucher cited: Whistler 3067
American Samoa
Tutuila Islands
Tutuila Island native
Setchell, William Albert (1924) (p. 43)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Rota Island introduced
Raulerson, L. (2006) (p. 49)
Var. insularum (Gray) Cogn.
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Aitutaki Atoll   McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
‘Atiu Island   McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Mangaia Island   McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Ma‘uke Island   McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Miti‘aro Island   McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Rarotonga Island   McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
San Cristóbal Group
San Cristóbal Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Santa Cruz Group
Santa Cruz Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Federated States of Micronesia
Chuuk Islands
Dublon (Tonowas) Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 178)
Federated States of Micronesia
Chuuk Islands
Fefan Island   Wagner, W. L./ Herbst, D. R./Weitzman, A./Lorence, D.H. (2013)
Federated States of Micronesia
Chuuk Islands
Tol Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 178)
Federated States of Micronesia
Chuuk Islands
Ulalu (Romonum) Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 178)
Federated States of Micronesia
Chuuk Islands
Weno (Moen) Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 178)
Federated States of Micronesia
Kosrae Island
Kosrae Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 178)
Federated States of Micronesia
Kosrae Island
Kosrae Island introduced
invasive
Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy (2010) (p. 15)
Naturalized
Federated States of Micronesia
Kosrae Island
Kosrae Island introduced
invasive
Josekutty, P. C./Wakuk, E. E./Joseph, M. J. (2002) (p. 63)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 178)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island   Glassman, S. F. (1952) (p. 60)
Voucher cited: Glassman 2913 (US)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island introduced
invasive
Herrera, Katherine/Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy/Balick, Michael J. (2010) (p. 82)
Vouchers cited: A. Dores 127 (Bish, NY, PTBG), R. Gallen 82 (NY, PTBG), M. Hunt 4 (NY, PTBG), M. Takamatsu 733 (BISH), R.L. Ward s.n. (BISH)
Invasive
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (2003) (voucher ID: PTBG 46204)
Taxon name on voucher: Luffa cylindrica (L.) Roem. var. var. insularum (A. Gray) Cogn.
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (2004) (voucher ID: PTBG 43579)
Taxon name on voucher: Luffa aegyptiaca
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (2001) (voucher ID: PTBG 43606)
Taxon name on voucher: Luffa aegyptiaca
Federated States of Micronesia
Yap Islands
Yap (Waqab) Island   Wagner, W. L./ Herbst, D. R./Weitzman, A./Lorence, D.H. (2013)
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Taveuni Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Smith, Albert C. (1981) (p. 682)
Voucher cited: Seemann 193
Sparingly naturalized.
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Smith, Albert C. (1981) (p. 682)
Voucher cited: DA 12394
Sparingly naturalized.
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Nuku Hiva (Nukahiva) Island introduced
cultivated
Lorence, David H./Wagner, Warren L. (2013)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Nuku Hiva (Nukahiva) Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island introduced
cultivated
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 94)
Vouchers cited: BRY 26107, BRY 26640
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 94)
Voucher cited: Setchelll & Parks 219
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island native
cultivated
Stone, Benjamin C. (1970) (p. 565)
Var. insularum (Gray) Cogniaux; vouchers cited: Stone 4315 (GUAM), G.E.S. 409
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 178)
Var. insularum (Gray) Cogn.
Marshall Islands
Ralik Chain
Kili (Kõle) Atoll introduced
cultivated
Vander Velde, Nancy/Vander Velde, Brian (2006) (p. 7)
"Rare; one vine observed growing Bikini Projects garden, climbing over lime tree, somewhat smothering it".
Marshall Islands
Ratak Chain
Majuro (Mãjro) Atoll introduced
cultivated
Vander Velde, Nancy (2003) (p. 89)
Nauru
Nauru Island
Nauru Island introduced
invasive
Thaman, R. R./Fosberg, F. R./Manner, H. I./Hassall, D. C. (1994) (p. 124)
Vouchers cited: Fosberg 58587 (US), Fosberg 58731 (US), Thaman & Manner 75 (SUVA)
New Caledonia
Récifs D'Entrecasteaux (D'Entrecasteaux Reefs)
Île Surprise introduced
invasive
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 46)
Voucher cited: Cherrier in MacKee 43872
New Caledonia
Hunter Island
Île Hunter introduced
invasive
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 46)
Voucher cited: Veillon 3398
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 46)
Vouchers cited: Védel s.n., Vieillard 963, Balansa 540, Balansa 3300, Däniker 1667, MacKee 26572, MacKee 34132
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île des Pins (Isle of Pines) introduced
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 46)
Voucher cited: Pancher 693
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
cultivated
Sykes, W. R. (1970) (p. 78)
Voucher cited: CHR 170272
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
invasive
abo. intro.
Whistler, W. A. (1988) (p. 16)
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
invasive
abo. intro.
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara M./Newfield, Melanie/Bull, Cate (2004) (p. 50)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Palau Islands (main island group) introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 178)
Papua New Guinea
Bismarck Archipelago
Bismarck Archipelago   Peekel, P. G. [translated by E. E. Henty] (1984) (pp. 543-545)
Common everywhere.
Papua New Guinea
Bougainville Islands
Bougainville Island   Foreman, D. B. (1971) (p. 38)
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands   Hafliger, Toni J./Wolf, Matthias (1988) (p. 237)
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands   Merrill, Elmer D. (1923) (p. 582)
Commonly cultivated for its edible fruits, the fruits being larger than the very common wild form which occurs in thickets in the settled areas.
Samoa
Western Samoa Islands
Western Samoa Islands   Whistler, W. A. (1988) (p. 16)
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands native
Hancock, I. R./Henderson, C. P. (1988) (p. 87)
Tonga
Ha‘apai Group
Ha‘apai Islands   Whistler, W. A. (1992) (p. 18)
Voucher cited: Soakai 670
Tonga
Tongatapu Group
Tongatapu Island   Whistler, W. A. (1992) (p. 18)
Voucher cited: Moseley s.n.
Tonga
Tongatapu Group
Tongatapu Island   Yuncker, T. G. (1959) (p. 260)
Cited: Moseley.
Tonga
Vava‘u Group
Vava‘u Island   Yuncker, T. G. (1959) (p. 260)
Voucher cited: Yuncker 16165
Wallis and Futuna
Wallis and Futuna (Horne) Islands
Futuna Island native
Morat, Ph./Veillon, J.-M. (1985)
Morat & Veillon, 1985, cited in Meyer, 2007
Wallis and Futuna
Wallis and Futuna (Horne) Islands
Wallis and Futuna Islands   Whistler, W. A. (1988) (p. 16)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
Australia (continental)   Hafliger, Toni J./Wolf, Matthias (1988) (p. 237)
China
China
China (People's Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
Commonly cultivated in China.
China
China
Hong Kong introduced
cultivated
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 106)
Honduras
Honduras
Honduras (Republic of)   Holm, Leroy/Pancho, Juan V./Herberger, James P./Plucknett, Donald L. (1979) (p. 223)
Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia (Republic of)   Hafliger, Toni J./Wolf, Matthias (1988) (p. 237)
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States)   Hafliger, Toni J./Wolf, Matthias (1988) (p. 237)
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia (Indian Ocean offshore islands)
Christmas Island Group
Christmas Island introduced
cultivated
Swarbrick, J. T. (1997) (p. 118)
Luffa sp.
Maldives
Maldive Islands
Malè Atoll   Fosberg, F. R. (1957) (p. 28)

Comments:  Cultivated and sparsely naturalized in Fiji (Smith, 1981; p. 682).

Control: 

Physical:  "Physical control can be effective if used repeatedly for an extended period"  (Englberger, 2009; p. 24).

Chemical:  "Triclopyr (Garlong 4) and glyphosate (Roundup) can be used"  (Englberger, 2009; p. 24).


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 18 AUG 2002 and was last updated on 11 JUL 2013.