Ah, the age-old question… Is cotton a flower?
Okay, so the question might not be that old but it is still a worthy question to ask. It does grow the same way a flower does after all and it even has a flower attached to the plant itself. One would think all of these things would make a cotton an actual flower, right?
Wrong! Cotton is not a flower, in fact, it is more akin to a dandelion.
There’s more you probably didn’t know about Cotton, like that fact its growth process starts off much like a flower does with a flower bud appearing sometime within the first 35 days of being planted. Then, a seedling emerges and flower buds shortly after, followed by the actual flowering of the plant.
We know what you’re thinking. Everything that was just mentioned has the word “flower” in it. So, what makes cotton a plant and not a flower? Well, that is a good question.
After about 100 days, cotton bolls begin to fill and open up where the flowers once were. Each boll contains about 32 immature seeds from which cotton fibers will begin to grow. The boll itself is actually considered a fruit because it contains seeds. Then, after the fibers begin to mature, the bolls begin to thicken and form a hollow cotton fiber inside of the boll which is approximately the size of a small fig. The boll reaches its full size after around 25 days after the petals fall and naturally burst open after a further 35 to 55 days where the underlying cotton is then exposed and dried out ready for picking.
After the nearly 180-day growing process, is complete, each plant will contain nearly 15 to 20 bolls and, on average, each boll will contain nearly 500,000 fibers of cotton. Amazing, huh?!