Where Does Cotton Come From?

Where does cotton come from? - Header Image

Key Points

  • Cotton is one of the most popular fibers used in the textiles business
  • Cotton is derived from the cotton plant and not from animals
  • Top cotton producing countries include India, China, United States, and Brazil.

Cotton is everywhere, from t-shirts, jeans, socks, to underwear, without doubt cotton would have to be one of the most common fibers used in the textile industry today.

Part of the success is that cotton has some remarkable qualities that make it a great 'fit' for apparel and highly versatile.

So where does this remarkable fiber come from?

Where does cotton come from? Cotton is made from varying lengths of fiber harvested from the cotton plant (genus Gossypium). Cotton plants are typically grown in warmer climates and countries like the India, China, US and Brazil are the main cotton producers.

Does cotton come from an animal?

Many fibers are derived from animals so it's quite easy to assume that cotton would come from an animal, however this is not the case.

In fact cotton simply comes from the cotton plant which is has a rather fancy scientific name Gossypium.

Examples of fibers that are derived from animals include:

  • Silk - Made with the secretions from silk worms and is one of the strongest natural fibers
  • Wool - Made from the hair of sheep, Merino wool is famous for its softness, warmth and strength.
  • Cashmere - Made from the hair of Indian Cashmere goat.
  • Fox - Made from the hair of fox.
  • Mohair - Made from the hair of the North African Angora goat.

Which countries produce the most cotton

Cotton thrives in warm climates and also needs quite a lot of water to keep it happy and producing adequate yields to make it worthwhile for production.

Countries producing the most cotton 2019/2020
Country Metric Tons
India 6,423,000
China 5,933,000
United States 4,336,000
Brazil 2,918,000
Pakistan 1,350,000
Uzbekistan 762,000
Turkey 751,000