Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. Under natural condition, the cotton balls will tend to increase the dispersion of the seeds.

The plant is a shrub native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including the Americas, Africa, 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. The English name derives from the Arabic (al) qutn قُطْن, which began to be used circa 1400 AD. The Spanish word, "algodón", is likewise derived from the Arabic.

The fiber is most often spun into yarn or thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile. The use of cotton for fabric is known to date to prehistoric times; fragments of cotton fabric dated from 5000 BC have been excavated in Mexico and the Indus Valley Civilization (modern day Pakistan). Although cultivated since antiquity, it was the invention of the cotton gin that so lowered the cost of production that led to its widespread use, and it is the most widely used natural fiber cloth in clothing today.

Current estimates for world production are about 25 million tonnes annually, accounting for 2.5% of the world's arable land. China is the world's largest producer of cotton, but most of this is used domestically. The United States has been the largest exporter for many years.

Read more about Cotton:  Types of Cotton, History, Cultivation, Pests and Weeds, Harvesting, Competition From Synthetic Fibers, Uses, International Trade, Critical Temperatures, British Standard Yarn Measures, Fiber Properties, Cotton Genome

Other articles related to "cotton":

USS Tioga (1862) - Civil War Operations - Maintaining An Impressive Score Against Blockade Runners
... British schooner, Florence Nightingale, laden with cotton and without papers ... When they noticed a large quantity of cotton floating in the water, Tioga and Octorara hove to and picked up the jettisoned cargo, while Santiago de Cuba kept up the pursuit and overtook the ... attempted to slip through the Union blockade laden with cotton and rosin ...
Cotton Genome
... A public genome sequencing effort of cotton was initiated in 2007 by a consortium of public researchers ... to sequence the genome of cultivated, tetraploid cotton ... "Tetraploid" means that cultivated cotton actually has two separate genomes within its nucleus, referred to as the A and D genomes ...
USS Kinsman (1854) - Ironclad Cotton Sets Itself On Fire While Kinsman Strikes A Mine
... Confederate gunboat Cotton enaged the attackers but was compelled to retire ... Soon thereafter Cotton's crew set their ship afire and destroyed her to prevent capture ...
Cotton Swab
... Cotton swabs (American English) or cotton buds (British English) or ear buds (British, Australian and South-African English) consist of a small wad of cotton wrapped around one or both ends of a short rod, usually ... The cotton swab was invented in the 1920s by Leo Gerstenzang after he attached wads of cotton to toothpicks ... The term "Q-tips" is often used as a genericized trademark for cotton swabs in the USA ...
1960 Dallas Texans Season - Regular Season - Schedule
... Kezar Stadium 8,021 3 September 25, 1960 Los Angeles Chargers W 17–0 Cotton Bowl 42,000 4 October 2, 1960 New York Titans L 35–37 Cotton Bowl 37,500 5 October 9, 1960 Oakland Raiders L 19 ...

Famous quotes containing the word cotton:

    We are constituted a good deal like chickens, which, taken from the hen, and put in a basket of cotton in the chimney-corner, will often peep till they die, nevertheless; but if you put in a book, or anything heavy, which will press down the cotton, and feel like the hen, they go to sleep directly.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    It is remarkable with what pure satisfaction the traveler in these woods will reach his camping-ground on the eve of a tempestuous night like this, as if he had got to his inn, and, rolling himself in his blanket, stretch himself on his six-feet-by-two bed of dripping fir twigs, with a thin sheet of cotton for roof, snug as a meadow-mouse in its nest.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    The white American man makes the white American woman maybe not superfluous but just a little kind of decoration. Not really important to turning around the wheels of the state. Well the black American woman has never been able to feel that way. No black American man at any time in our history in the United States has been able to feel that he didn’t need that black woman right against him, shoulder to shoulder—in that cotton field, on the auction block, in the ghetto, wherever.
    Maya Angelou (b. 1928)