Our Cotton

About Cotton

From soft and fluffy, to strong and silky

Cotton is a soft, fluffy fibre that grows in a case, called a boll, that protects the seeds of the cotton plants.

There are four commercially grown species of cotton:

Gossypium hirsutum, called upland cotton and native to the US and the Caribbean. A short staple variety, this cotton accounts for around 90 per cent of world production.

Gossypium arboretum is a tree cotton, native to India and Pakistan. Gossypium Herbaceum is native to southern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Both these varieties account for than two per cent of global production.

Gossypium barbadense is known as extra-long staple cotton. It’s native to tropical South America and accounts for almost eight per cent of cotton production.

Cotton thrives in tropical climates

It grows best where it’s warm for long periods of the day with high levels of humidity and rainfall. China and North America are probably the largest growers.

The overwhelming majority of global production is devoted to the short-staple upland cotton. These plants are small bushes, and plantations usually cover vast areas that can be harvested mechanically. This grade of cotton is used for heavier yarns and is processed in high volume, open-end spinning plants.

The rarest of all cottons

Extra-long staple (ELS) varieties are comparatively rare and attract a price premium. The rarest is Sea Island cotton from the West Indies.

Sea Island hybrids, such as Egyptian Giza 45 and Indian Suvin Gold, are larger bushes grown in smaller areas, often on difficult terrain. These varieties are hand-picked.

More readily available ELS varieties are Pima, from Peru and North America, and Giza from Egypt.

English Fine Cottons works only with the finest ELS varieties, ensuring we produce superfine cotton yarns of the highest quality.