Cotton (Gossypium spp
) are plants belonging to the mallow family, Malvaceae. There are 32 different species of Gossypium
, although G. hirsutum
is the most commonly grown for commercial purposes. Cotton plants are perennial shrubs that produce flowers that look similar to a hibiscus. Cotton attributes:
- height: up to 6 ft (2 m) tall
- Stem: Semi-woody
- Leaves: 3-5 lobed leaves, 2 - 4 in ( 4 - 10 cm) in length.
- Flowers: Yellow to purplish pink showy flowers.
- Fruit: Smooth, light green capsules about 1.5 in (3.75 cm) in length, that contains many brown seeds that are wrapped in a whitish fuzz-like substance. When mature, capsules open to reveal and spread the seeds inside.
Cottonseeds are toxic to poultry if eaten. The main toxin is gossypol, a poisonous phenolic compound that chickens are particularly sensitive to.