Cotton, Tree (Gossypium arboreum), packet of 5 seeds, Organic

$4.95

Family:  Mallow (Malvaceae)

Hardy to Zones 10 to 12, otherwise nicely grown as a potted plant in greenhouse or solarium

(Tree Cotton, Mpamba mwitu) Shrub to 6 feet tall.  Protect from frost.  Excellent choice to have for a plant in a pot in a solarium or tropical greenhouse. Native to India and introduced to East Africa (where I found it) about 2,000 years before the present.  Source of a high quality long fibre cotton that has been used in textile manufacture since antiquity.  The cotton is also used by fishermen to calk between boards of the dhow.  On Pemba or dockside in Stone Town, one can often hear the tap-tap-tapping of mallets as the fundis calk their boats. When harvesting this seed, I came away with the largest, fiercest preying mantis I’d ever seen, a truly african form of the insect, adhering to my biceps with claws that were loathe to detach.  I have to admit, I screamed!  The shrubs are pretty and robust, studded with the flaring yellow, pink, or white flowers and pendant gobs of cotton.  Plant prefers sun to part shade and rich, well-drained soil.  Plant seed in fast-draining medium and keep warm until germination, which occurs in about 10 days.  Space trees 5 feet apart.

5 seeds per packet, Certified Organically Grown

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  1. Question

    A.

    Do you know whether this tree form is controlled and regulated the same as the bush cottons widely farmed for fiber?
    As a textile enthusiast living in the south, the strict regulatory oversight threats have kept me from growing cotton for years. I am always on the lookout for plant-based fibers which won’t require carefully timed soaking processes as I lose track of time often.
    Do you know if the fibers produced can be spun like a standard cotton?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      No, this one falls outside the radar. I’ve grown standard gossypium a few times and the bolls are no different than this one. Tree cotton definitely makes high quality spinnable cotton. Like 2 minutes before I got your communication I was out in the greenhouse fondling some weighty seedpods of this beauty–hit waitlist-we’re going to have seeds. richo

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