Cotton is a soft fibre that grows from the seeds of the cotton plant. The fibre is long and thin, like hair. After the cotton fibre is gathered from the plant, it can be made into thread. The cotton thread can then be made into cloth. The cloth can be used to make clothes for people and many other things. Cotton clothing is very nice to wear, especially in hot weather, and is easy to move around in.
There are different types of cotton plants. Some cotton plants grow wild in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. This is how cotton was discovered many years ago. Most of the cotton gathered to make cloth comes from crops grown on cotton farms. Cotton farms can be found in Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, and the Americas. All parts of cotton plants are useful.
Cotton is a natural fibre harvested from the cotton plant. Cotton is one of the oldest fibres with traces of cotton over 7,000 years old recovered from archaeological sites. Cotton is also one of the most used natural fibres in existence today, with people everywhere wearing and using cotton for various purposes. Millions of acres globally are used to produce cotton, whether it be new world cotton, with longer, smoother fibres, or the shorter and coarser old world varieties.
In our second Planet Money T-shirt podcast we hear the interesting story of a Brazilian cotton farmer called Pedro.