Gossypium thurberi – Thurber's Cotton

Gossypium thurberi - Thurber's Cotton, Desert Cotton (flower)

Gossypium thurberi - Thurber's Cotton, Desert Cotton (seed capsules)

Gossypium thurberi - Thurber's Cotton, Desert Cotton (autumn leaves)

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Gossypium thurberi

Synonym: Thurberia thespesioides

Common Names: Thurber's Cotton, Desert Cotton

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial, Deciduous

Growth Habit: Tree, Shrub

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Desert, Upland. It grows on rocky hillsides or in foothill washes or canyons.

Flower Color: White, Pink (old flowers)

Flowering Season: Summer (late), Fall (early)

Height: To 7 feet (2.1 m) tall or more

Description: The cup-shaped flowers are 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm) wide and have 5 broad, white petals that fade to pink as they age. The petals are either solid white or streaked with pink at the base. The flowers are followed by round, green seed capsules that dry to a brown color and split open to reveal the seeds and only a few, sparse cotton fibers. This plant is related to cultivated cotton, but its cotton is too paltry for commercial use. The leaves are green and palmately lobed with 3 or 5 point-tipped lobes. The leaves turn a bright red color in the fall (around late October).


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Dilleniidae
Order: Malvales
Family: Malvaceae – Mallow family
Genus: Gossypium L. – cotton
Species: Gossypium thurberi Todaro – Thurber's cotton

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map