Wild Cotton

The young yellow cotton flower

The older red flower

The Cotton industry in the Turks and Caicos Islands was not particularly successful.  Plantation owners from the United States tried to introduce it as a crop to the islands but it suffered from disease.  There is however a native cotton that grows here.

Wild Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) Boll

Wild Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) is a member of the mallow family, it is a large if slightly gangling shrub often found along roadsides.  More specifically there are a few plants growing along the track to Conch Bar Caves.

The flowers open yellow and at this stage are looking to be pollinated by insects and the yellow allows ultra violet patterns to show.  Once pollinated the flower turns red, hiding those patterns and closes. The seeds, once ripe, are covered with the white cotton.


About thehutts

The Hutt Family from Northumberland
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3 Responses to Wild Cotton

  1. vivinfrance says:

    Are all three stages visible at the same time on the same shrub? And has anyone tried spinning the cotton? I have a friend who spins.

  2. thehutts says:

    One of the photos is a week or two ago but there were still a few yellow flowers visible yesterday. I think it is used in this wild form in places.

  3. vivinfrance says:

    I looked it up, and it’s the same variety that is used commercially, but they have hybridised or otherwise messed about with it to make the staple longer, which might explain the disease?

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