Plantidote of the Day 2011-09-21
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!)
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