Genus of the Week
Week of September 6-12
This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the
context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of
all available Web resources for a particular genus.
If you like this page, you might also want to visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes
, a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family. Also, you can see my contribution to the
Conservation New England web site, entitled
"The Introduction of Non-Native Plants into Massachusetts".
This week's genus:
Number of Species: At least 5, not including cultivars.
Root: Pliny the Elder, the famous Roman scholar, called this plant "gossypion".
The genus Gossypium is the most economically important in the Malvaceae family, being the
plant from which we derive the textile known as cotton. The clothing we wear actually comes from
the tufted hairs that cover the plant's seeds. The most commonly grown species in the United States
is G. hirsutum, though there are other species and polyploid varieties from which cotton
cloth is made.
Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Gossypium species:
- Texas A&M University sponsors the CottonDB
web site, a creation of the USDA that provides access to a database of information on the
molecular, genetic, physiological and morphological aspects of this genus.
- Visit the Hawaiian Flower Essence web site to see a picture and description of
- See pictures of cotton and read a little bit about the
history and origins of this genus at Dr. Wolfgang Schuchert's web page.
- Gossypium species provide more than just cotton; they also have a history of
herbal uses. Check out some of them at Healthlink.com's web site.
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
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