Have you ever wondered whether is cotton ball a flower or a fruit? Know interesting facts and all about the mysterious cotton ball in this article.
Is Cotton Ball a Fruit or a Flower?
The soft fluffy, staple fiber, the cotton ball is actually called a cotton boll. It is the fruit and not the flower of the cotton plant. However, the shrub does have flowers that bloom and make way for the cotton bolls. Let’s learn about the cotton plant and its fruit, which helps create the most popular textile in the world!
The Cotton Plant
Grown on a green shrub, cotton is a member of the hibiscus family. The plant is tropical in nature; however, it grows best in geographical areas with a temperate climate and well-distributed rainfalls. Starting from the seeds, the cotton plant reaches the state of flowering in about 35 to 40 days.
The seedling then makes way for beautifully bloomed cream and pink flowers. After that, in around 100 days, the cotton bolls begin to fill with immature seeds that produce the cotton fibers. Learn everything about the different stages and parts of the cotton plant here.
Cotton Bolls – The Fruit
Cotton bolls are referred to as the plant’s fruit because it contains and protects the seeds of the plant. As the fibers released from the seeds inside the boll mature, they start to thicken up and create a fig-sized hollow ball of usable fibers inside the fruit. The plant, therefore, is precious, primarily because, on average, every plant has twenty cotton bolls, which is a source of nearly 500,000 cotton fibers ready for sorting.
Later Stages of Cotton Boll Development
The fruits of the cotton plant actually open up with hormone intervention. A plant hormone called ethylene is mainly responsible for activating the boll opening process. After the boll opens, the moisture of the boll dries up, and the cellular bond improves between the fibers that form the cotton ribbons. This stage of boll development is also an essential step that decides the quality of the cotton yarn made in the fabric making stages.
Terms Related to Anatomy of a Cotton Boll
- Capsule: the dry fruit covering of the plant that opens up and releases the seeds. It is also composed of carpels (the female sexual organ of the plant).
- Pistil: The female organ of the cotton plant. In other words, this part of the plant consists of the style, stigma, and ovary.
- Ovary: The enlarged base of the pistil that turns to the fruit after fertilization
- Boll: Name of the cotton fruit
Know more about the fibers of the cotton plant and the fruit here. In addition to the composition of the fibers, the article explores the uses of cotton as well.