Cotton belongs to the mallow family. The cotton fiber is the seed hair of the plant Gossypium. Its flower looks very similar to the hollyhock (poplar rose) and rose hibiscus growing in our country. After flowering, the ovary, which is located in the calyx, transforms into an egg-shaped capsule that bursts open and spills out its seed hairs. A cotton boll contains about 30 seeds, each with 2000 to 7000 seed hairs. Depending on the species, climate and cultivation method, the cotton plant reaches a height of 25 centimeters to over 2 meters. It is mainly grown as a shrub-high annual plant. Only in a few areas (such as Peru and northern Brazil) it still grows on perennial shrubs. Cotton is a so-called xerophyte, i.e. it loves warm and dry areas. Its taproot enables it to extract water deep from the soil.
Raw cotton is traded according to color, purity, fiber length (staple), fineness, strength and uniformity. Some grades are hard and rough to the touch, while others are silky soft. Color-wise, raw cotton is classified as “white” (white), “light yellowish” (creamy), “light spotted” (light spotted) and “spotted” (spotted). There are also varieties that appear yellow-brownish, as well as colored grown in shades of green and brown. An important quality characteristic is the staple length. The finest and longest cotton fibers also have the greatest strength in relation to their cross-section. This property is very valuable for spinning the finest cotton yarns. Cotton fiber can be stretched by 8 to 10 percent in both the dry and wet states. Its wet strength is higher than its dry strength.
Cotton is durable
Cotton fiber has high strength, which makes clothes and textiles very durable. This means that they can be used and washed often – without any loss of quality. This means that favorite pieces made of cotton stay beautiful longer and cause less waste. Examples of particularly robust garments made of cotton are jeans and work pants. Here, cotton plays off many of its positive properties: robust, easy to wash, breathable. The denim fabric is particularly popular in Germany: according to the Cotton Lifestyle Monitor 2018, 81 percent of German consumers say they love or find jeans comfortable, compared with only 66 percent of consumers worldwide who make this statement.