Herbs & Plants

Gossypium hirsutum

Botanical Name : Gossypium hirsutum
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Gossypium
Species: G. hirsutum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

*Gossypium barbadense var. marie-galante (G. Watt) A. Chev., Rev. Int. Bot. Appl Agric. Trop. 18:118. 1938.
*Gossypium jamaicense Macfad., Fl. Jamaica 1:73. 1837.
*Gossypium lanceolatum Tod., Relaz. cult. coton. 185. 1877.
*Gossypium marie-galante G. Watt, Kew Bull. 1927:344. 1927.
*Gossypium mexicanum Tod., Ind. sem. panorm. 1867:20, 31. 1868.
*Gossypium morrillii O. F. Cook & J. Hubb., J. Washington Acad. Sci. 16:339. 1926.
*Gossypium palmeri G. Watt, Wild cult. cotton 204, t. 34. 1907.
*Gossypium punctatum Schumach., Beskr. Guin. pl. 309. 1827.
*Gossypium purpurascens Poir., Encycl. suppl. 2:369. 1811.
*Gossypium religiosum L., Syst. nat. ed. 12, 2:462. 1767.
*Gossypium schottii G. Watt, Wild cult. cotton 206. 1907.
*Gossypium taitense Parl., Sp. Cotoni 39, t. 6, fig. A. 1866.
*Gossypium tridens O. F. Cook & J. Hubb., J. Washington Acad. Sci. 16:547. 1926.
Common Names: Upland cotton or Mexican cotton,Cotton

Habitat : Gossypium hirsutum   is believed to have originated in Central America. In its transition from tropical to temperate regions, American Upland Cotton has lost the perennial, short-day habit to become highly vegetative producing few or no fruiting branches when grown during long days. Annual forms were developed in which all periodicity controls were lost. American Upland Cotton was taken from Mexico to United States about 1700. During American Civil War, it was introduced into most tropical and subtropical countries of the world. It now forms basis of all commercial cotton crops of Africa outside the Nile Valley, all those of South America except in Peru and northern Brazil, of the modern Russian crop, and much of that of northern India and Pakistan, and the Philippine Islands, as well as that of the Cotton Belt of the United States. Upland and Cambodian varieties are invading the Chinese crop, and where these cottons are developed in southeast Asia, they will be based on these types and hybrids between them.

Gossypium hirsutum is an annual subshrub, up to 1.5 m tall; branches of two kinds: vegetative and fruiting; leaves alternate, petiolate, palmately 3–5-lobed, hirsute, blade cordate, as broad as long, 7.5–15 cm across; flowers 6–8 on each fertile branch, large, white or yellow, subtended by a reduced calyx and 3–4 large green fringed bracts; staminal column surrounding style made up of 100 or more stamens; ovary superior, 3–5-carpellate; fruit a dehiscent capsule, 4–6 cm long, spherical, smooth, light green, with few oil glands; seeds 1 cm long, ovoid, dark brown, about 36 per fruit, bearing hairs of two kinds on the epidermis: long fibers called lint and short fibers strongly attached to seedcoat called fuzz; weight of 100 seeds 10–13 g; well-developed taproot with numerous laterals penetrating as deeply as 3 m. Fl. variable as to locality, approx. 3 months after planting……....CLICK &  SEE  THE  PICTURES

Seeds of some cultivars require a 2–3 month period of dormancy. Seeds lose viability quickly under moist conditions. Commercial cotton is always grown from seed, sown when soil temperatures are at least 18°C. Seed sown in drills or in hills. The hill-drop method is perhaps best if hand-hoe labor is used. Plant 2.5 cm deep under normal conditions. Seed rate of 17–28 kg/ha gives a good stand with 75,000–150,000 plants/ha, allowing for some losses. Row width of 100 cm is most suitable for mechanization. Seedbed preparation should include eradication of residue from past crops, maintenance of drainage, good tilth, elimination of hardpans, control of weeds and pests. Periodic cultivation and weeding is practiced. Chemical herbicides are routine in many countries. Insect control is one of the most costly items. Pre- and post-planting pesticide application is practiced. Irrigation is used when soil moisture is inadequate or when soil is poor in moisture-holding ability. An increasing amount of cotton is grown under irrigation yearly. Fertilizers are also a major item; for large harvests nutrients must be continually replaced. Amounts depend on soils; local agents should be consulted. Rotation is a recommended practice. Short rainy seasons often allow only the single crop to be grown. Where possible, a rotation of fallow, wheat, fallow, peas, cotton, fallow has proved practical.
Edible Uses:
Linters are of intermediate texture and shorter than those of G. barbadense. Seeds yield a semi-drying and edible oil, used in shortening, margarine, salad and cooking oils, and for protective coverings.

Chemical Constituents:
Root bark contains ca 3% of a reddish acidic resin, a volatile oil, a phenolic acid (probably 2,3-dihydrobenzoic acid; salicylic acid, a colorless phenol, betaine, a fatty alcohol, a phytosterol (C27H46O), a hydrocarbon (probably triacontane), ceryl alcohol and oleic and palmitic acid. Hager’s Handbook (List and Horhammer, 1969–1979) also lists isoquercitrin, quercimeritrin, quercetin-3′-glucoside, hirsutrin, isoastragalin, palmitic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, a-pinene, b-caryophyllene, bisabolol, caryophyllenepoxide, bisabolenoxide, abscissin II, serotonin, chrysanthemin, gossypicyanin, and histamine.

Medicinal Uses:
Cottonseed and roots have been used in nasal polyps, uterine fibroids and other types of cancer (Hartwell, 1967–1971). Gossypol has shown anticancer activity in the new LL, WA and PS-150 tumor systems. Mucilaginous tea of fresh or roasted seeds used for bonchitis, diarrhea, dysentry, and hemorrhage. Flowers diuretic and emollient, used for hypochondriasis. Leaves steeped in vinegar applied to the forehead for headache. Often used by early American slaves for abortion; apparently with no serious side effects. In Guinea, leaves and seeds considered emollient and roots emmenagogue. About 100 g root was boiled in about a liter of water until reduced by 1/2. Fifty g of the resultant witches brew was then drunk about every half hour. Root decocotion used for asthma, diarrhea, and dysentery. Root bark, devoid of tannin, astringent, antihemorrhoidal; used as an emmenagogue, hemostat, lactagogue, oxytocic, parturient, and vasoconstrictor. Gossypol is being used in China as a male contraceptive.

Other Uses:
Cultivated primarily for its vegetable seed fiber, the raw material for a large volume of textile products, this species is considered the most important of the cotton-yielding plants, providing the bulk of commercial cottons.
Pigg (1980) reports that bread, made with cottonseed protein is an even better source of protein than enriched white bread, six slices of which provide 20% of the adult RDA. Low-grade residue serves as manure, bedding and fuel. Fuzz, which is not removed in ginning, become linters in felts, upholstery, mattresses, twine, wicks, carpets, surgical cottons, and in chemical industries such as rayons, film, shatterproof glass, plastics, sausage skins, lacquers, and cellulose explosives.

Residue, cottonseed cake or meal is important protein concentrate for livestock.
Known Hazards: Gossypol, the toxic dihydroxyphenol, occuring in seeds and the glands of seedlings, must be removed before cottonseed can be used for feed. Hogs have died from eating raw seed (Morton, 1974). Per 100 g, the ground seed is reported to contain 7.3 g H2O, 23.1 g protein, 22.9 g fat, 43.2 g total carbohydrate, 16.9 g fiber, 3.5 g ash, 140 mg Ca, 1.2 mg Mn, 320 mg Mg, 680 mg P, 14 mg Fe, 290 mg Na, 1,110 mg K 240 mg S, 5 mg Cu. Once the oil is removed, the meal contains per 100 g, 7.3 g H2O, 41.4 g protein, 5.6 g fat, 10.9 g crude fiber, 39.5 g total carbohydrate (6.5 g total sugars, 6.4% lignin), 190 mg Ca, 1.8 mg Cu, 10 mg Fe, 490 mg Mg, 2.3 mg Mn, 1,090 mg P, 1,250 mg K, 50 mg Na, and 400 mg S (Parnell, 1981). Commercial cottonseed contains approximately 92% dry matter, 16–20% protein, 18–24% oil, 30% carbohydrates, 22% crude fiber. After ginning, cottonseed includes unginned lint, fuzz, 16% crude oil, 45.5% cake or meal, 25.5% hulls, and 8% linters. Principal pigment in seed is gossypol, a poisonous phenolic compound usually rendered harmless on crushing or heating, but may retain minute amounts to which pigs and chickens are sensitive.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.