Last weekend as I drove through the Missouri Bootheel, I saw cotton fields at various stages of development. In fact, I found one field that had a lot of bolls on it and was still blooming too, so it gave me a chance to show a lot of the different stages of growth for cotton.
I hope some of you enjoy looking at the video, it sort of brings one of my top cotton 101 posts What does a cotton plant look like? into a state of motion.
Key Parts of the Cotton Plant
Cotton plants really are beautiful! There are pretty flowers and cotton bolls are absolutely awesome. Lots of people haven’t had the chance to take those plants in first-hand. So this video and post is a way to share that beauty with those of you who may not have plants within reach! So what should you look at on the cotton plant?
- White flower / white bloom — The first day a bloom opens it is white or a creamy yellow color. In the afternoon, the pollen is released and as it self-pollinates.
- Pink flower / pink bloom — Once pollinated, the flower begins to turn pink, becoming a bright fuschia in a few days.
- Young boll — As the pink bloom dries down, the young boll pushes its way up, forcing the pink bloom to fall off as a tag. The boll continues to grow as the fiber and seed grow.
- Cracked boll — As cotton fiber matures, cotton bolls open slowly as the bracts dry and separate.
- Open boll — This is the part of the plant that most people think of when they think of a cotton plant… it’s what we harvest. And it looks like the cotton balls in our bathroom cabinets.
Learn More about Cotton
There are lots of great sources of information on my favorite crop!
- I post things pretty often on cotton, you can see them through the overview of them on my Cotton 101 page or check out both the cotton category and cotton guest category on the blog. Some of my highest rated posts on cotton show what cotton plants look like, Things Farmers Think Through in Selecting Cotton Varieties, How Harvest has Changed in a Lifetime and A Working Cotton Dictionary (Words Cotton Folks Use that May Confuse Others)
- TheFabricOfOurLives website is a pretty great resource on the fashion side of cotton!
- A great resource for great technical information is Cotton Physiology Today, a series of newsletters by the Cotton Foundation about cotton plants and the management of them. The University of Georgia’s Cotton Growth & Development brochure is another great resource too.