The Biology of Gossypium (Cotton)

This document describes the biology of Gossypium hirsutum (upland cotton) and Gossypium barbadense (Pima cotton), with particular reference to the environment, cultivation, and use.

The information included relates to the taxonomy and origins of cultivated G. hirsutum and G. barbadense, general descriptions of their morphology, reproductive biology, development, biochemistry, biotic and abiotic interactions.

This document also addresses the potential for gene transfer to occur to closely related species. The purpose of this document is to provide baseline information about the parent organism in risk assessments of genetically modified G. hirsutum or G. barbadense that may be released into the environment.

The genus Gossypium was named by Linneaus in the middle of the 18th century. It is in the Family Malvaceae, Order Malvales, and Tribe Gossypieae. It is commonly known as upland cotton, American cotton, or Mexican cotton.

The common name cotton comes from the Arabic ‘quotn’ and generally refers to species that produce spinnable fibres (lint) on their seed coat. The oldest known words for cotton are ‘karparsa-i’, in the language Sanskrit, and ‘Karapas’ used in early Bible manuscripts.

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