We’re doing this Ecofact from the panhandle of Texas where cotton is a major crop. What we’re looking at today is Gossypium hirsutum which is actually only one of several species of cotton grown in the world. Cotton is a descriptive term for several plants in the genus Gossypium in the Malvaceae family. While there are about 4 main cultivated species, Upland Cotton constitutes 90 percent of worldwide production.
As it turns out Upland Cotton is native to the Americas. The first discovered cultivar of this species was in Mexico about 5,000 years ago.
And if you’re wondering how important cotton is, here are some amazing numbers. In 2007 China lead the world in production with 25.3 million bales. India, the home of Ankit, grew 20.5 million bales. And the US grew just over 19 million bales.