Scientific name: Gossypium hirsutum
Family: Malvaceae (kapok, mallow, cola, hibiscus)
Annual or perennial herb or shrub reaching up to 2m tall. Leaves up to 10cm long, heart-shaped (cordate) at base. Flowers yellowish white, fading to pinkish purple. Fruits capsules up to 4cm long; broadly ovoid to subglobose; beaked at tip; 3-5-celled, each cell contains up to 11 copiously hairy and fuzzy seeds. Pollinated by insects. The plant takes 180 to 200 days from planting to maturity.
Cotton is the world’s biggest non-food crop and makes half of the world’s textiles, explosives, oil, cattle food, toothpaste. It has survived competition from synthetics but at the expense of heavy fertiliser and pesticide use and its shocking history of labour exploitation. This elegant, cool popular material has cost more in human misery than its competitors wool, linen and nylon. The cotton trade was a driving force in the Industrial Revolution and helped to finance the British Empire. It was the mainstay of the slave trade and contributed to the American civil war. Today it is the heavy pesticide use necessary to grow this ‘white gold’ that claims lives. One of the easiest specialty plants to grow.
|Pre-Treatment:||Soak in water 24-48 h|
|Sowing Deep:||1-2 cm|
|Sowing Mix:||Requires rich fertile soil|
|Germination :||10-21 days at + 20°C|