Cotton fiber is derived from cotton plants. There are multiple cotton species, four of which are cultivated commercially to give us the cotton we use for making clothing, yarn, accessories, furnishings, toys and other household items:
- Gossypium hirsutum is commonly known as upland cotton or Mexican cotton. Varieties derived from this cotton species account for about 90 percent of the global cotton supply.
- Gossypium barbadense has multiple common names including Egyptian cotton, Pima cotton and Sea Island cotton. High-end, long-staple, luxury cotton varieties typically originate with this species of cotton; this species yields exceptionally soft, strong fibers that command premium prices from the buying public.
- Gossypium arboreum is also known as “tree cotton”. This species accounts for less than 2 percent of the global cotton supply.
- The common name for Gossypium herbaceum is “Levant cotton”. This species accounts for less than 2 percent of the global cotton supply.