Photo credit: lauracchia80
Also spelled luffa, loufa, or loofa, the cylindrical sponge many of us use to slough off dead skin cells in the shower or bath doesn't come from the ocean, as some might assume, but can actually be grown in your own backyard.
The luffa is a member of the gourd family, grown not for eating, but for its dense and fibrous internal skeleton. When the fruit has matured and dried in about 6 months, you peel off the skin and remove the seeds, leaving behind the familiar sponge-like fibers.
Personal hygiene isn't the luffa's sole domain; you can also use it for scrubbing dishes, household chores, and washing your car. For more information, visit Luffa.info. You can also check out how Groovy Green harvested his homegrown shower sponge. ::World Ark (May/June 2007)