What do cotton plants look like? (2024)

How do I identify a cotton plant?

The cotton plant belongs to the genus Gossypium of the family Malvaceae (mallow family); the same family as hollyhock, okra and hibiscus. It is generally a shrubby plant having broad three-lobed leaves and seeds in capsules, or bolls; each seed is surrounded with downy fiber, white or creamy in color and easily spun.

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What do cotton plants look like as they grow?

Cotton seeds are planted in spring and the plant grows into green, bushy shrubs about one metre in height. The plants briefly grow pink and cream coloured flowers that, once pollinated, drop off and are replaced with fruit, better known as cotton bolls.

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What do cotton plant leaves look like?

Some are almost completely smooth, while others are hairy (with many trichomes). Most leaf blades are thin and papery, but there are some that are thick and leathery. Most species have five lobes, although the actual shape may range from round to deeply cut. On the underside there are three to five main veins.

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Where do cotton plants grow?

U.S. cotton is grown predominantly in 17 southern-tiered “Cotton Belt” States—from Virginia to California. Cotton is planted from March to June and harvested from August to December. Among the U.S. States, Texas is the largest producer, contributing approximately 40 percent of U.S. cotton production in recent years.

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Why is cotton growing illegal?

As a way of supporting boll weevil eradication, Congress put the Boll Weevil Eradication Equity Act in place. This act states that cotton may not be grown for noncommercial purposes without a special waiver issued by the state's plant board.

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Do cotton balls come from cotton plants?

The fruit part of cotton plant yields cotton balls.

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Do people still pick cotton?

In the majority of underdeveloped nations, cotton is primarily picked by hand. The majority of women carry out this labor-intensive and tiresome activity. Cotton picking is typically done mechanically by cotton pickers or cotton strippers in developed nations like the USA, Australia, Brazil, and Russia.

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Do they still pick cotton by hand?

Hand picking of cotton is still done in Turkey, India, China and parts of Africa, and pickers are generally paid by the kilo. The first attempts at a mechanical cotton picker or combine were patented as early as 1850.

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What time of year does cotton bloom?

The creamy or white petals of the flower turn pink after 24 hours and shed within a week as the fertilized ovules of the ovary grow into a boll. In most of the Cotton Belt, the effective bloom period occurs from late June or early July to mid-August.

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Do cotton plants come back every year?

Cotton is a perennial plant but mostly grown as an annual as it cannot withstand frost. Cotton needs a lot of sunshine, warm conditions and 4-5 months of frost-free temperatures to mature and produce cotton. Not all regions are lucky to have long warm summers, however cotton can be grown indoors too.

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Is cotton a plant or a bush?

The plant is a shrub native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including the Americas, Africa, Egypt and India. The greatest diversity of wild cotton species is found in Mexico, followed by Australia and Africa. Cotton was independently domesticated in the Old and New Worlds.

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What does a cotton plant look like in bloom?

White flower / white bloom — The first day a bloom opens it is white or a creamy yellow color. In the afternoon, the pollen is released and as it self-pollinates. Pink flower / pink bloom — Once pollinated, the flower begins to turn pink, becoming a bright fuschia in a few days.

What do cotton plants look like? (2024)

What state grows most cotton?

According to 2014 estimates, the federal state of Texas, the nation's top cotton producing state, accounted for more than 42 percent of the country's total cotton production, followed by Georgia with roughly 18 percent. More than 3.2 billion U.S. dollars' worth of cotton was produced in Texas in 2021.

What time of year does cotton get picked?

Cotton is machine harvested in the U.S., beginning in July in south Texas and in October in more northern areas of the Belt. Stripper harvesters, used chiefly in Texas and Oklahoma, have rollers or mechanical brushes that remove the entire boll from the plant. In the rest of the Belt, spindle pickers are used.

What states is it legal to grow cotton?

Where is cotton grown in the U.S.? Cotton is grown in 17 states stretching across the southern half of the United States: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Is it illegal to grow cotton in the USA?

“Hobby cotton” seed must come from a state-certified source, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and it can be grown legally only from March to October.

Why is cotton the dirtiest crop?

From its extreme water needs and often heavy use of pesticides, to the cotton farmers who struggle with economic despair and toxic health effects of agrochemicals, it's no wonder cotton is often called the world's 'dirtiest' crop.

Why do farmers plant cotton?

Cotton is the most widespread profitable non-food crop in the world. Its production provides income for more than 250 million people worldwide and employs almost 7% of all labor in developing countries. Approximately half of all textiles are made of cotton.

Can you touch raw cotton?

Cotton fibers are soft and gentle enough on the skin for use in sensitive areas such as around noses and eyes, but sturdy enough to hold up against natural cleaners and makeup products.

What is the purpose of a cotton plant?

Cotton plants are cultivated for their fruits, known as “bolls”. Once ripe, the bolls split to reveal a small white ball: cotton. The raw product is know as seed cotton, which is ginned to separate the fibre from the seeds. The fibre is spun to make yarn and woven to make fabric.

What are 5 interesting facts about cotton?

Cotton has an interesting history and some surprising characteristics.
  • Cotton is stronger when wet. ...
  • Cotton has been used for over 7,000 years. ...
  • There are 50 different natural species of cotton. ...
  • Cotton plants produce fruit. ...
  • Most banknotes are made using cotton. ...
  • Cotton was the first plant to grow on the moon.

How did slaves pick cotton?

By strapping bags across their shoulders, enslaved workers could pick cotton with both hands. An average sack full of cotton weighed 75 to 100 pounds and each person was required to fill three to five sacks a day.

How long did slaves pick cotton?

Beginning in 1800, slaves cultivated cotton for sixty years; but free blacks were cotton laborers for nearly a hundred years after emancipation.

What year did they stop picking cotton by hand?

The Southern growers soon followed suit and the age of hand picked cotton ended. After 1960 almost the entire industry used mechanical pickers... and new social problems arose, but the end of hand picked cotton came about slowly from 1936-1960.

What do you do with cotton after you pick it?

After harvest

The cottonseed is used for either animal feed or sent on to be pressed for cottonseed oil and other uses. The cotton fiber is then sent a to mill where it can be woven into cloth that is used to make our bed sheets, soft towels, clothes and more! So, there you have it: cotton harvest from field to gin.

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