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Plantidote of the Day 2011-09-21

Kathryn's picture

Black Cotton

Black Cotton, Levant Cotton

Gossypium herbaceum nigra

Wandering through Rutgers Gardens I found this beautiful example of Black Cotton. It is a true cotton, and an ancient cultivar, developed in Africa and the Arabian penninsula. It traveled up the Silk Road all the way to China by around 600 c.e.

Full sun, tender perennial, grows 24"-30” – the leaves are so dark as to be black, the small hisbiscus flowers are a deep burgandy and the seed pods will burst into full cotton at maturity. This plant is a short staple cotton used as an ornamental, whereas the US cotton industry largely uses long staple Pima cotton (staple being the fibers).

I had not seen one of these before and believe me, it is stunning. Seems like it would be set off beautifully surrounded by white alyssum.

Image below is of the foliage, which has a great maple leaf shape. Grows up to zone 4. (and I managed to get my shadow in the pic as well!)

Black Cotton with Foliage

Readers, please send twig ( images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chanterelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

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jerztomato's picture
Submitted by jerztomato on

I'm not much of a fan of annuals (except self seeding). This one would be a good contrast to all the yellow leaf plants in my garden