What is pima cotton?

Pima cotton is a species of cotton plant. It’s binomial name is Gossypium Barbadense. One cool thing about the Pima cotton plant is that it contains a natural chemical called gossypol which protects it from fungal damage and insects. It is known by many names such as South American, Creole, Extra long staple and Sea Island cotton. Most of us probably know it as the luxurious Egyptian cotton.

The pima cotton plant is raised in a tropical climate and is identified by the yellow flowers and black seeds that it produces along with the cotton. The Pima plant is a frost-sensitive perennial plant, meaning it lives for more than two years and it thrives in warmer climates. In order for the Pima plant to grow and survive, there must be an abundance of full sunlight, a high humidity level and plenty of rainfall. The pima cotton plant looks like a small, bushy tree that produces cotton. The cotton yielded from this plant is unusually long and silky, which is probably why its considered a very luxurious fiber.

Pima cotton gets its name from the Pima Indians who helped cultivate the cotton back in the early 1900’s. The Pima Indians raised the cotton on experimental farms in Arizona that were set up by the United States Department of Agriculture. Today, only about 5% of cotton production in the United States is American pima cotton. There a few small farms in West Texas, Arizona and New Mexico that grow Pima cotton but most of America’s pima cotton is grown in California.

Pima cotton is typically the highest price of all cottons because it is a long cotton and has a highly desirable silky texture. It is a high end type of cotton that is used in the finest cotton count items and is sometimes blended with silk for an even more luxurious look and feel.

Pima cotton makes for a very high-quality and comfortable shirt. Many polo and button down shirts are manufactured using Pima cotton due to its professional look and feel as well as its durability.

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