Native and wild cotton varieties


Cotton has had a major impact on humanity for centuries. It is a shrub native to tropical and subtropical regions, including the Americas, Africa, Egypt, and India. The generation of new varieties and cultivation techniques led to its expansion in other climates.


Cotton originated in Africa over 6 million years ago, and through natural dispersion, it developed into separate lineages. Ancient cultures on different continents domesticated cotton parallelly, giving origin to the four most commercially grown species:


—Gossypium hirsutum (upland cotton) – native to Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean (90% of world production)

—Gossypium barbadense (extra-long-staple) – native to tropical South America (8% of world production)

—Gossypium arboreum (tree cotton) – native to India and Pakistan (less than 2%)

—Gossypium herbaceum (Levant cotton) – native to Southern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula (less than 2%)


There are around 46 wild species in the world. The greatest diversity of wild cotton species is found in Mexico, followed by Australia and Africa. Mexico encompasses the origination of 11 species of Gossypium.


The wild species of Gossypium are critical sources of genetic traits necessary for resilience such as fiber properties, resistance to damage caused by microorganisms and physical stresses (low or high temperature, deficient or excessive water, high salinity, heavy metals, and ultraviolet radiation) and increased yield.


To promote regenerative cotton production, we are developing practices at farm level that sequester carbon, increase ecosystem services and contribute to healthy soil.

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