Cotton whose name comes from the Arabic qutuun is a plant fiber that surrounds the seeds of “true” cotton (Gossypium sp.), A shrub of the family Malvaceae. This fiber is usually transformed into yarn that is woven to make fabrics. Cotton is the most produced natural fiber in the world. Since the nineteenth century, thanks to advances in industrialization and agronomy, it has been the world’s leading textile fiber (almost half of the world’s textile fiber consumption).
The most popular cotton varieties are Gossypium arboreum and Gossypium herbaceum. These two forms of short-staple cotton have given rise to many varieties, but are almost no longer exploited as such because their fibers are too short.
Gossypium barbadense, a cotton tree of Peruvian origin, accounts for about 6% of the world’s fiber production. Its cultivation was notably introduced in Egypt and produces, today through the quality “Jumel”, one of the best cottons of the world in terms of the quality and the length of fibers.
Gossypium hirsutum, which accounts for about 81.5% of the world’s fiber production, is also native to South America.