Cotton is a fiber obtained from the cotton plant, a bushy plant of the genus Gossypium. The cotton fiber grows from the seeds of the plant in the seed pods, called bolls. The fiber, which is 90% cellulose, is naturally fine, soft, fluffy and absorbent. The length of a cotton fiber can vary from under 1/2” to over 2” with the longest fibers being the most desirable for fabric production. Cotton fiber is usually cream-colored, but also may be grown in green or brown. The cotton plant grows best in tropical and sub-tropical environments.
The history of cotton literally parallels the history of civilization. Evidence of isolated civilizations growing cotton and creating fabric from its fiber dates its domestication to at least 4500 B.C.E. in both the Americas and South Asia.