Myth

Luffa sponges come from the ocean.

Luffas Aren’t Sea Sponges, They are the Hardened Fruit of a Gourd That Grows in the Jungle

Luffa (loofah) sponges don’t come from the ocean. A luffa sponge is the ripened fruit of a plant in the gourd / cucumber family.[1][2]

FACT: A luffa starts out looking a lot like a giant cucumber, then as it ripens it turns red. Check at the video below to understand more about the process from luffa vine to luffa sponge.

How Luffa Sponges Are Made.

Understanding the Luffa

The term luffa refers to a flowering fruit bearing vine. That vine (along with its fruits and flowers) is part of the same plant family as gourds and cucumbers.

A luffa sponge is specifically the fruit part of the plant that has been left to ripen and had the other parts of the plant removed.

FACT: The luffa plant grows in tropic and subtropic regions (which, along with its sea sponge like shape and the way it is marketed, helps explain why the average person isn’t aware the luffa is a fruit). That said, the reality is if you live in a warm enough climate you can grow luffas in your backyard. The first video you can see a luffa farm in California, in the video below you can get the sense that you can grow luffa right in your own back yard.

Luffa Harvesting to make a luffa sponge.

The Luffa Fruit is Also Used as a Food

Although a fully developed luffa that has been left to ripen long enough works well as a scrubbing sponge, the luffa is actually commonly eaten in many parts of the world. It is used in soups and stir fries in Vietnamese cuisine and eaten fried in Bangladesh.

FACT: Even in countries that use the luffa as a food, it is also used as a sponge.

BOTTOMLINE: Although on some level scrubbing your body with a seas sponge or fruit is probably equally as strange when committed to deep thought, we now know a luffa is less a sea sponge, and more like a dried cucumber you can either make soup with or take a bath with depending on its ripeness.



Conclusion

A luffa sponge might look like an ocean sponge, but it is in reality closer to a dried up cucumber.


Citations

  1. Luffa. Wikipedia.org.
  2. Today I Learned Where Loofahs Come From And I Need To Share This Information. BuzzFeed.com.  <—- BuzzFeed was the originator of this Factoid. That said, at this point the factoid tends to get cycled around the internet without a citation (that is where I first saw it). Further, mother nature came up with this one, not BuzzFeed. :)


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