High-Grade Pima Cotton Emerged Here

The Arizona Daily Star's Centennial salute to science in Arizona runs all summer. Each day, for 100 days, we'll record a milestone in the state's scientific history.

Pima cotton has come to represent the gold standard for luxurious, silklike fabric used in high-end sheets and clothing.

The evolution of this extra-long-staple cotton is an Arizona success story.

"A lot of folks think it originated with the Pima Indians," said Jeff Silvertooth, head of Soil, Water and Environmental Science at the University of Arizona's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

In truth, the much-modified strain is native to the islands of the Caribbean, where it was first encountered by Spanish explorers.

The British brought it to Egypt, and it made its way to the Southwest from there in the late 1800s.

Researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and agricultural agents with the UA's extension service developed the first strains at Yuma, before that station was wiped out by flooding in 1905.

Read more from this article published in the Arizona Daily Star on July 8 at the link below.

Contact name: 
Jeff Silvertooth
Contact email: 
silver@ag.arizona.edu
Released date: 
Jul 11 2012