Gossypium barbadense - L.
Common Name Sea Island Cotton
Family Malvaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known in the wild
Range Western S. America.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Tender Moist Soil Full sun

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Other known common names are as follows: Extra-long Staple (ELS) cotton, Egyptian cotton, Creole cotton, and pima cotton. Sea island cotton or Gossypium barbadense is a frost-sensitive, tropical, perennial plant with growing as a small and bushy tree of up to 3 m in height. It has yellow flowers and black seeds and it produces cotton with long and silky fibers. These fibers have a wide range of uses including making clothes, rubber-tyre fabrics, stuffing material for pillows and cushions, surgical dressing, twines and ropes, and carpets among others. The seeds are ground into flour and added to bakery products. It yield oil which is used in salads, canned goods, and manufactured into margarine. Root bark infusion is used in the treatment of irregular menstruation. The leaves are used for high blood pressure, abdominal cramps, menstrual problems, etc. The seeds are used for diarrhea and thrush.

Gossypium barbadense Sea Island Cotton

Gossypium barbadense Sea Island Cotton
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Gossypium barbadense is an evergreen Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 2.5 m (8ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant is not wind tolerant.

Gossypium acuminatum Roxb. ex G.Don Gossypium brasiliense MacFadyen. Gossypium evertum O.F.Cook & J.

Edible Uses
Edible portion: Seeds, Leaves, Oil. Leaves - probably edible[301 ]. Seed - ground into a flour and added to bakery products [301 ]. An oil obtained from the seed is used in salads, canned goods and manufactured into margarine[301 ].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

The root is abortifacient, emetic and emmenagogue[348 ] An infusion of the root bark is used to treat difficult or irregular menstruation[348 ]. The pulverised roots are used to procure an abortion[348 ]. The stem bark is used in a preparation to strengthen the womb[348 ]. The leaves are antipruritic, diuretic and hypotensive[348 ]. Leaves of the red variety of cotton are used for treating high blood pressure; abdominal cramps and pain; menstrual problems; painful ovaries; and difficult expulsion of afterbirth[348 ]. Applied externally, the leaves are macerated in oil to make a poultice that is used to soothe an overheated person[348 ]. An infusion of the leaf juice is used to treat skin rash and children's cramps[348 ]. The juice from macerated leaves is used as wash to treat itchy skin[348 ]. Juice from the macerated leaves is warmed and used as a medicament for 'bush yaws'[348 ]. The flower buds are used as an auricular analgesic[348 ]. The seeds are crushed, and the juice given to babies as a treatment for thrush[348 ]. The seed fibres are laxative and pectoral[348 ]. They are used to treat diarrhoea and thrush[348 ]. Applied externally, they are used to make a dressing on wounds[348 ]. The pressed cotton cake contains gossypol, which is used clinically as a male contraceptive[348 ]. Gossypol is a toxic polyphenolic bisesquiterpene which may have antifertility and antiviral properties[348 ].


Other Uses
Other Uses: The fibre obtained from the seed floss is the longest of any cotton species[46 ]. It is 3 - 5cm long, strong and of excellent quality[46 ]. Cotton fibres have a wide range of used including making clothes; rubber-tyre fabrics; stuffing material for pillows, cushions etc; surgical dressings; making twine and ropes; carpets etc[46 ].
Cultivation details
Industrial Crop: Fiber;  Management: Coppice;  Management: Standard;  Regional Crop;  Staple Crop: Oil.

Sea Island cotton can be grown in the dry to moist tropics and subtropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,500 metres. For commercial production it requires a climate that has a long, hot growing season with abundant moisture, followed by a drier period for harvesting the seed floss[200 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 32?c, but can tolerate 15 - 38?c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 750 - 1,250mm, but tolerates 500 - 1,500mm[418 ]. Prefers a very sunny position in a light, fertile soil[200 ]. Plants can tolerate a range of well-drained soils, including moderate levels of salt[418 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.2 - 7.2, tolerating 5 - 8.5[418 ]. Requires a position sheltered from strong winds[418 ]. Suitable for growing indoors.
From herbaceous stem cuttings From seed; sow indoors before last frost Seed Collecting: Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored
Other Names
Algodon, Fai-tet, Hai dao mian, Kidney cotton, Peruvain cotton, Pima cotton, Te baubau, algodoeiro, algodoeiro-americano, algodon, algodonero de las barbados, algodão, algodón, american pima cotton, american-egyptian cotton, brazilian cotton, coton des indes occidentales, cotonnier d'egypte, cottonseed oil (unhydrogenated), egyptian cotton, gallini cotton, kidney cotton, long-staple cotton, peruvian cot, uruch,
Found In
Ecuador; Peru; Argentina; Paraguay; Brazil; Colombia, Africa, Asia, Australia, Belize, China, East Africa, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Guiana, Guyana, Haiti, Hawaii, India, Indochina, Kiribati, Mozambique, Nauru, Nicaragua, North America, Pacific, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, PNG, Puerto Rico, SE Asia, Sierra Leone, South America, Suriname, Tajikistan, Thailand, USA, Venezuela, Vietnam, West Africa, West Indies, Zambia,
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Gossypium herbaceumShort-Staple American Cotton (Cotton )23


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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.
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Subject : Gossypium barbadense  

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