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Gossypium hirsutum - L.

Common Name Upland Cotton
Family Malvaceae
USDA hardiness 5-10
Known Hazards Some forms of this plant contain the toxin gossypol - glandless cultivars are free of this toxin[301 ].
Habitats Not known
Range Central America, north to southern N. America and the Caribbean.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Gossypium hirsutum Upland Cotton


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Gossypium hirsutum Upland Cotton
Drew Avery wikimedia.org

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Gossypium hirsutum is a SHRUB growing to 2 m (6ft) by 2 m (6ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant is not wind tolerant.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Many

Habitats

Edible Uses

Seed - cooked. The seeds contain up to 40% protein, they have a nutty flavour when roasted and can be eaten as a snack[301 ]. They are also boiled and used like rice in casseroles and soups[301 ]. Ground into a powder, they can be added to flour when making bread, cakes etc[301 ]. They can also be made into a spread similar to peanut butter[301 ]. Some forms of this plant produce seeds containing the toxin gossypol, which needs to be removed before the seed is eaten[301 ]. The seeds of glandless cultivars do not contain this toxin[301 ]. An oil obtained from the seed is used for salads, in cooking and to make margarine etc[301 , 418 ]. Carbon Farming - Staple Crop: oil.

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


The boiled leaves are applied to skin rashes on children[348 ].

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Other Uses

Agroforestry Uses: Low-grade seed cake, after the oil has been expressed, is used as manure[418 ].. Other Uses A good quality fibre is obtained from the seed floss[46 ]. Cotton fibres have a wide range of used including making clothes; rubber-tyre fabrics; stuffing material for pillows, cushions etc; surgical dressings; making twine and ropes; carpets etc[46 ]. An oil is obtained from the seed. Low-grades of the oil are used in the manufacture of soap, lubricants, sulphonated oils and protective coatings[418 ]. The seed hulls and the dry stalks are used as fuel[418 ]. Carbon Farming. Industrial Crop: fiber. Other Systems: strip intercrop.

Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Fiber  Management: Coppice  Management: Standard  Other Systems: Strip intercrop  Regional Crop  Staple Crop: Oil

Sea Island cotton can be grown in the dry to moist tropics and subtropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,250 metres. For commercial production it requires a climate that has a long, hot growing season with abundant moisture, followed by a drier period for harvesting the seed floss[200 ]. Low temperature increases the production of vegetative branches and extends the cropping period, while high temperature increases the number of fruiting branches and reduces the cropping period. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 36°c, but can tolerate 15 - 42°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 750 - 1,200mm, but tolerates 450 - 1,500mm[418 ]. Prefers a very sunny position in a light, fertile soil[200 ]. Plants can tolerate a range of well-drained soils, including moderate levels of salt[418 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7.5, tolerating 5 - 9.5[418 ]. Requires a position sheltered from strong winds[418 ]. The plant is usually cultivated as an annual, taking 150 - 220 days to mature a crop[418 ]. Seed-cotton yields vary between 0.8 - 3 tonnes/ha, or 0.2 - 1.1 tonnes/ha of fibre[418 ]. Carbon Farming - Cultivation: regional crop. Management: standard, coppice. Perennial cotton has longer fibres and is considered superior to annual cottons. Perennial cottons are suited to arid and humid conditions while annual cottons were bred for colder climates and for mechanical harvesting. Perennial cottons are cultivated in the tropics on a smaller scale and include Gossypium arboreum burmanicum, Gossypium arboreum indicum, Gossypium arboreum soudanense, Gossypium barbadense braziliense, Gossypium barbadense darwinii, Gossypium herbaceum acerifolium, Gossypium herbaceum africanum, Gossypium hirsutum marie-galante, Gossypium hirsutum punctatum, Gossypium hirsutum taitense. Currently perennial cottons are harvested by hand. Researching perennial cottons varieties and production methods would help develop them as good carbon farming plants and help to alleviate the terrible problems caused by annual cottons.

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Propagation

Seed. In zones 8-10 it can be sown directly after the last frost. In zones 5-7, treat like tomatoes. Seed germinates in 7-21 days at 70 F. Plant 18-30 in. apart in rows 5 ft. apart. Plants start flowering in mid-summer.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Upland cotton or Mexican cotton,

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Gossypium arboreumTree Cotton21
Gossypium barbadenseSea Island Cotton32
Gossypium herbaceumShort-Staple American Cotton (Cotton )33

 

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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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