Cotton can occur not only in white, but also in natural rose, buff, brown, red, chocolate, green – even lilac, blue, and black.
For centuries, cotton was a symbol of India. “…It is so transparent and light that it looks as if its one is in no dress at all but has only smeared the body with pure water,” the XIV-century Persian poet Amir Khusrau was speaking of muslin from Dacca and Deogiri. Cotton is classified as a natural, cellulosic, monocellular, staple fibre and has been cultivated for more than 5000 years. The quality of cotton fibre is based on its colour, staple, fineness, and strength. Usually, the longer fibres are finer and stronger.
Cotton, the purest form of cellulose found in the nature, is the seed hair of the plants of the genus Gossypium. All domesticated species of cotton belong to one family of swamp mallow, Gossypium malavanceae. They grew originally as perennials, but through a process of human selection they developed what botanists refer to as an “annual habit” – flowering and fruiting within a single growing season. Cotton is a water-intensive crop. Nearly 15% of the virtual water in cotton goods represents water used to dilute wastewater from fertilized field plus the water used to transform cotton into yarn or fabric. 2,800 gallons of water are used to produce one cotton bedsheet
There are 3 main types of commercial cotton: A) high quality long-staple cottons with the superior strength and uniformity, and staple length varying from 32 to 60 mm. Long-staple cotton fiber represent only about 3% of the entire world’s cotton production. All long-staple cottons belong to Gossypium barbadense species. It is confirmed through modern molecular systematics that the origin of Gossypium barbadense was in Peru and Ecuador around a million years ago. The largest producers/exporters (2009) of long and extra-long staple cotton are China, India, United States, Brazil, Uzbekistan, Sudan. B) coarser species of cotton with shorter staple length, about 26-27 mm, such as American Upland Cotton. It presently is used for clothing, hammocks, wound dressings, etc. C) staple length is about 9-25 mm, this type of cotton commonly produced in various Asian countries. World cotton supply can be divided into six categories: extra-fine, fine, high-medium, medium, coarse count and waste/padding.