Read up on these 10 surprising and fun facts!

Fascinating Facts About Cotton

When we think about cotton, we typically picture little bundles of white fluffiness that can be spun into balls of fiber goodness. But the uses and appearance of cotton are far broader than we might have imagined.

Let’s delve into some unique facts about this multifunctional perennial plant. When you’re finished soaking in this interesting info, leave us a comment with your favorite cotton facts!


1. It’s a common misconception that all cotton is white. Cotton can be a range of colors, including brown and green.

2. When we think of lint, we think of obnoxious particles that gather on our clothing, requiring a little help from a lint roller. But not all lint is bad! As it turns out, cotton fibers are referred to as lint.

3. The cotton plant is a member of the hibiscus family and grows into stunning flowers in a range of soft-pastel colors.

4. Cotton grows in bolls, which are seeds covered in lint and protected by a sturdy husk that opens when the cotton is mature.

5. American paper currency is made of 75% cotton. So money may not grow on trees, but it does grow out of the ground!

6. Pima cotton is named for the Pima Indians of the American Southwest.

7. Devil’s cotton, or Abroma augusta, is a plant with a dark-red flower and bark that yields a jute-like fiber. It is widely distributed in Asia and unrelated to the Gossypium we know and love.

8. Cotton has many uses around the house! We love the Interweave “Yarn Hack”, about replacing traditional Swiffer disposable pads with reusable cotton squares!

9. Removing the leaves of a cotton plant forces all its nutrients to the seeds to prevent the death of its genes, speeding up the ripening process.

10. Our final interesting cotton fact is spawned from a myth—The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary.

“When cotton was first introduced to Europeans in medieval times, they were mystified. What was the source of this marvelous material? Theories abounded. For a time, the source was thought to be “the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary”—a plant with tiny sheep on stems bowing down and grazing the undergrowth. One can only imagine how they thought all those tiny sheep were shorn.” —Stephenie Gaustad, The Practical Spinner’s Guide: Cotton, Flax, Hemp 

The vegetable lamb in question was later identified as cotton. We can see the resemblance!

Image source: The Travels of Sir John Mandeville by John Mandeville

Thank you all for reading up on our favorite facts about cotton!

Learn more about fibers from our knowledgeable exhibitors and instructors at Interweave Yarn Fest, happening April 12 -15, 2018 in Loveland, CO.

Mark your calendars, and join us here next Thursday for more fiber fun!

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