In the US, almost everyone I know (except vegetable gardeners) relate the word Luffa, sometimes spelt Loofah, to a type body scrubbing sponge you get from the store. Yes, I allow some of my Luffa Gourds (广东丝瓜 pronounced Guangtung Xi Gua) to age & turn to sponge & these sponges really do get rid of dead cells & dirt!
The plant is a vine of the Cucurbitales family and if allowed to hang on the vine till the pulp turns grainy & the sap dries up, what sits in the “shell” is a sponge.
I grow my Luffa plants almost randomly, yes, I throw seeds close to trellises, arbors and palm trees. If they like the microclimate there, they germinate & grow, with supports standing by for them ~ almost like planned gourd seed dispersal.
They grow happily & this one does look kind of cute hanging by the dining room window. I would harvest 8 out of 10 young green ones for food ~ ensuring they are heavy with sap & the skin is still soft.
The simplest dish is to saute diced garlic in sesame oil till fragrant. Add peeled & sliced young Luffa into the pan, stir fry till cooked (about 2 mins) then add a beaten egg into the pan. A dash of light soy sauce & pepper … stir till eggs are done & there you have it.
I call this my version of Luffa Fu Yong.