Gossypium barbadense, also known as extra long staple (ELS) cotton as it generally has a staple of at least 1 3/8" or longer, is a species of cotton plant. It is a tropical, frost-sensitive perennial plant that produces yellow flowers and has black seeds. This plant contains the chemical gossypol, which reduces its susceptibility to insect and fungal damage. In Suriname’s traditional medicine, the leaves of G. barbadense are used to treat hypertension and delayed/irregular menstruation. In Peru, cultivation of the indigenous cotton species Gossypium barbadense was the backbone of the development of coastal cultures such as the Norte Chico, Moche and Nazca. Cotton was grown upriver, made into nets and traded with fishing villages along the coast for large supplies of fish. The Spanish who came to Mexico in the early 1500s found the people growing cotton and wearing clothing made of it. Although South America is the center of origin of the species gossypium barbadense, to which ELS cottons belong, these cottons were photoperiodic, and the fiber was medium staple in length and coarse, as typified by the current Tanguis cottons of Peru. The first clear sign of domestication of this cotton species comes the Early Valdivia phase site of Real Alto on the coast of Ecuador (4400 BC) and from Ancon, a site on the Peruvian coast, where cotton bolls dating to 4200 BC were found. By 1000 BC, Peruvian cotton bolls were indistinguishable from modern cultivars of G. barbadense.
Gossypium is a tropical, frost-sensitive perennial plant that grows as a small, bushy tree and yields cotton with unusually long, silky fibers. To grow, it requires full sun and high humidity and rainfall.
Story of this spotting: I was exploring Huaca Pullana in Lima, a great adobe and clay pyramid located in the Miraflores district of central Lima, that served as an important ceremonial and administrative center for the advancement of the Lima Culture, a society which developed in the Peruvian Central Coast between the years of 200 AD and 700 AD. As an educational part of this site, there was a fenced off area containing the types of animals and plants that could have been seen in the area, when this site was in it's glory. This cotton plant was included, and I thought it was very interesting as I hadn't really observed cotton so close-up before.