Common Name
Cotton or Egyptian Cotton

Hawaiian Name

Scientific Name
Gossypium barbadense



Whole Plant





Location On Campus

It is located outside of room 52 at Kaiona. It is also located behind room 54 at Kaiona.

Natural Habitat

This plant grows in warm and temperate climates, also growing in dry, disturbed areas.

Cultural Information

This plant was introduced in Hawai‘i. Wild populations are known only to coastal Ecuador, although it was probably widespread along Pacific and Atlantic coasts. It was introduced to Hawai‘i in the 1800's, but never became an important crop.

Plant Description


  • Has a woody stem which grows into many different branches
  • About 90-120 cm tall, 5-10 cm wide
  • Grayish-brown in color, covered with many bumps


  • Simple leaves
  • Palmate venation
  • Parted margin
  • Smooth on top, but rough on the bottom
  • Green in color


  • Large, white or yellow in color
  • Round shape


  • Dry fruit that is white, puffy, and soft, known as the cotton
  • Single fruit or cotton is about 4.5 cm long and 1.5 cm wide
  • Fruit is not edible


  • 0.75 cm long, and 0.5 cm wide
  • Dark in color, 15 seeds spread throughout the entire fruit
  • Smooth, almond-shaped
  • Dispersed by the wind


  • Can be self-pollinating
  • Bees sometimes pollinate cotton

Life Cycle/

  • Cotton is a perennial shrub, (present during all seasons of the year)
  • 3 stages of growth
  • Can reproduces by self-pollination

Propagation/ Cultivation:

  • Needs full sunlight, high humidity, and high rainfall
  • Sensitive to frost

Interesting Facts:

  • Oldest cotton textiles recorded from South America from archaeological excavations in northern Chilean desert date to 3600 BC.

Web Site Links

One Hundred Percent Cotton

This is a location of information on this type of cotton, including a detailed description of this plant.

Google Search Results

This site will show pictures of cotton.

King Cotton Magazine

This is a magazine website with recent information on cotton in America.


Cotton. The Marshall Cavendish Illustrated Encyclopedia of Plants and Earth Sciences. University of Hawaii Press: 1988.

Herbst, Derral R., S. H. Sohmer, Warren L. Wagner. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawaii vol. 1. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1999.

One Hundred Percent Cotton. Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden. 13 Mar. 2003. <>

Tropilab®Inc. 11 Mar. 2003. <>

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