This is the flower of the cotton plant. I was very surprised when I walked through the garden near the visitors' center at Walney Pond, and found these pretty blooms. I was even further surprised after discovering they were growing on a cotton plant. I had never seen one before and in pictures had only seen those fluffy balls of cotton before they are harvested.
I have since learned that there are several species of 'wild cotton' (cotton that grows uncultivated in the world). They have been found in Australia, Africa, Arizona, Central America, Lower California, Brazil, Mexico and other tropical countries and islands.
Because of problems with their refinement, they are not economically feasible to use. Through genetic assistance and breeding, today's cottons have evolved from these 'wild' sources and are more processing friendly.
Currently there are five prominent types of cotton being grown commercially around the world. They are Egyptian, Sea Island, American Pima, Asiatic and Upland. Because of their need for a long, sunny growing period with at least 160 frost free days, they are grown between latitudes 45 degrees north and 30 degrees south. The major producing countries within this region are the United States, People's Republic of China, India, Pakistan, and Republic of Uzbekistan. Also, Brazil, Australia, Egypt, Argentina, Turkey, Greece, Syria and other produce significant but lesser amounts.
In the U.S. there are 14 major cotton growing states that produce Upland Cotton. They are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Some cotton is also grown in Florida, Kansas and New Mexico.
American Pima Cotton is grown in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. All these states form a region in the United States called the Cotton Belt and have three things in common, lots of sunshine, water and fertile soil, very important to growing a good cotton crop.
I found all my information and a lot more at this website.
There is also a great blog post that takes you through a step-by-step pictorial of cotton development. You can find that here.
TODAY’S FLOWER’S was created by our good friend Luiz Santilli Jr.