The Cotton Plant (Gossypium) is a soft, fluffy, fibrous plant native to tropical and subtropical regions. It is harvested and spun into yarn to make clothing

Botanical Information:

The cotton plant is part of the Mallow family, or Malvaceae. Besides cotton, the more commonly known members of the Malvaceae are okra and cacao. Members of this family have these general characteristics: Palmate leaves (palm shaped), alternative leaf pattern, stipules are present, hairs on the stem, single flowers, actinomorphic (star-shaped,radial), five petals, minimum of five stamens, and indehiscent nuts. Members of the Malvaceae family self-pollinate.

Domestication Information:

The cotton plant is native to both The Old and New Worlds, in Central America, Mexico, The Caribbean, Southern Florida, Tropical South America, India, Pakistan, Southern Africa, and The Arabian Peninsula. Cotton is naturalized in other countries such as China, Uzbekistan, Turkey, along with other Southern, warm climate states in The United States of America. Cotton is not considered an invasive plant, which means it was brought from native countries and naturalized in the pre-mentioned areas. In places such as the Americas, cotton was introduced to foreign areas during the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, and Eighteenth because it served as a major cash crop.

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Current and Historical Uses:

There are many commodities made from cotton. The lint, which is the fluffy fiber separated from the seed, yields the most products. These products include textile and yarns, cordage, automobile-tire cord, and plastic reinforcing. The linters, which are short, cut ends removed from the seed after ginning, can be used for its high source of cellulose. The cotton hulls can be used to make fertilizer and fuel, where the fiber fromthe stalk could be used for products such as cardboard and paper. Cotton also produces a byproduct of cottonseed oil. Cottonseed oil is made when the seeds are crushed and treated to make oil used in cosmetics and cooking oil.

Cotton was first spun and woven in prehistoric times in places such as ancient Egypt, India and China. Cotton wasn't introduced and cultivated in European countries until Anno Domini, when in the First Century Arabs brought cotton to Italy and Spain. In The New World, Native Americans successfully spun cotton into garments and tapestries. The textiles of the spun and woven by Native Americans closely resemble those textiles spun and woven by the ancient Egyptians.The invention of the cotton gin, which is a machine that separates the cotton seeds from the fluffy fiber, allowed cotton to be the chief textile throughout the world. The world's and particularly Britain's strong demand for cotton became the principal reason for the Deep South's slave-labor economy and also a major economic reason for the Civil War. The end of slavery in the United States pushed the Cotton Belt to Western North America.
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Fabric From Cotton:
The cotton plant is an ideal fiber in the making of textiles because of its breathability, versatility and strength. Even though cotton is very light and breathable, it is able to be woven into any density thus also enabling it to be dyed. Cotton is popular among designers and people around the world because of its soft texture and ability to wick away moisture. The downside to using cotton for fabrics is the shrinkage of the material after being dried because of the cotton's naturally porous fibers. The cotton fiber is widely popular because of its qualities in the making of fine garments, dresses, pants, shirts, baby clothing, and any other article that requires a gentle touch and long-lasting wearability.
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Cotton., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2012 <>