The petals of the cotton flower are a creamy white to yellow when the flower first opens. They are narrow at the base and broad at the tip. The petals darken, usually to a dark pink at the end of the first day. Below is a cross section through a petal.

The flower has three bracts, usually closed about the square. It also has a calyx, which surrounds the developing bud. Both the bracts and the calyx serve to protect the flower.

In the center of the flower is a five lobed pistil, surrounded by many stamens. Each of the stamens has a two lobed anther that releases pollen. Each pollen grain is viable for about 12 hours after release.

The flower has a superior ovary, consisting of two or more locules, or seed chambers. Depending upon the species of cotton, each seed chamber can have 8-12 ovules, 5-9 of which usually mature.

Scroll down for labeled diagrams of the cotton flower bud and the mature cotton flower.

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Introduction | Flowers&Fruit | Roots | Stems | Leaves

Thomas L. Rost 1998
Section of Plant Biology Division of Biological Sciences