The onset of civilization in India and Cotton go hand in hand . The history of cotton goes back to the Indus Valley Civilization about 5000 years ago.

The pictures below taken in a cotton field near the Jodhpur -Phalodi (North West  Rajasthan ,India) highway are an attempt to reveal the Origin of Cotton .

cotton fields
Cotton field

Tree Cotton ( English), Kapas  (Hindi ),  Gossypium arboreum ( Scientidic name ) belongs to the Hibiscus family Malvacaeae.

When you look at the beautiful  pink “rose like” buds you can hardly imagine this is THE ORIGIN of all your cotton clothes.

the pink bud

The pink bud transforms into a gorgeous primrose like yellow flower which is held up by a purple coloured stalk. ( unique to this species of the Genus Gossypium)

I did however see Purple flowers as well, however they were not blooming and thus not included in my story. ( maybe an expert could clarify are there two colours of flowers or do the yellow flowers turn purple)

the yellow cotton flower
Transformed into a Yellow Flower

The Tree cotton is actually a shrub native to the Indian Subcontinent and extremely resistant to pests and drought like conditions.

The fruit bears seeds which in turn bear the cotton fibres which you see in the picture below.

The Cotton fibres are the basis of all your cotton clothing.

cotton ball
Fluffy Cotton Boll

The fruit or Cotton Boll ripens under the Sun changing from  green to brown and then bursts open releasing the cotton fibre.

The picture  below shows the ripened Cotton bolls with and without the cotton fibres.

last stage
The Final Stage

Cotton today has many hybrids across the world and the plant and flower may vary depending on the species.

This was however the story of the ancient TREE COTTON which is even today cultivated to provide the shirts on our backs.

Published by

mukul chand

51 year old entrepreneur who has traveled extensively around the world for work and pleasure , is based in New Delhi, India. A passionate traveler born with a love for flora and fauna, is an active naturalist and amateur photographer. Here he shares his unique insight into Incredible India revealing its mysterious and exotic treasures. Writing from his heart he shares his experiences as he crisscrosses this vast and amazing land.

40 thoughts on “5000 YEARS OF COTTON”

  1. 🙂 I got myself some cotton plant seeds last year. Three of which grew into tiny plant. One is now out in the garden, two sit in a pot inside. I am eager to find out, if any of them survives the winter of the north.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cotton is one of amazing plants. How hard to pick up them.. and has an amazing voyage from the soil to wearing them… In southeast we have too, dear Mukul, but as you explained the origin comes from your land…. Thank you, love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

      1. They believed there was a tribe of people in India with no mouths, they “fed” themselves by smelling food or fragrant things, bad odours killed them. They weren’t exactly good at deduction. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Historically true, though not just about Africans. Cannibalism was not very rare over most of the planet at one time or another. I know the auto-driver wasn’t discussing ancient societies with you though. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. When I was a child my family picked cotton in Texas and New Mexico to supplement our family income. My brother and I had small cotton sacks and competed to see which of us could pick the most. Sometimes he cheated and let me win. This happened from the time we were six and seven until we were 9 and 10. By then our dad had a good-paying job and so did my mom. Oddly we never thought of it as work. My brother and I were having too much fun. At least that’s the way I remember it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was fascinated when I observed the flowers blooming for the first time. The shrubs I have seen but ever gave a close look. Was surprised that the Hibiscus and the Cotton Tree belong to the same family.


  4. This is an interesting story — thanks for bringing it to us on WordPress. I never knew that the cotton plants were a type of Hibiscus, nor that they grew so high and formed those bolls/balls like that. Beautiful flowers and beautiful photos! (I love cotton!) Great report!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. First time I had a chance to view the flowers myself. The Plants were about waist high , no higher. Easy to pick the Cotton then. Do see the post titled. DINOSAUR too for more cotton.


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