Cotton bolls in the field

The Cotton plant is a tropical and semi-tropical shrub of the genus Gossypium (family Malvaceae).

The common commercial varieties are G. hirsutum (US, Australia), G. arboreum and G. herbaceum (Asia), and G. barbadense (Egypt). In the wild it can grow up to 3 meters high. The leaves are broad and have three parts while the seeds are contained in capsules called bolls, surrounded by a downy fibre called lint. The lint is easy to work with or spin and is the source of cotton cloth.


  • tree cotton Gossypium arboreum
  • Creole cotton Gossypium barbadense
  • Levant cotton Gossypium herbaceum
  • upland cotton Gossypium hirsutum

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