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The luffa are tropical and subtropical vines comprising the genus Luffa. The fruit of at least two species, Luffa acutangula and Luffa cylindrica, is grown, harvested before maturity, and eaten as a vegetable, popular in Asia and Africa. The ripe, dried fruit is also the source of the loofah or plant sponge. Luffas are also used to make the soles of beach sandals.