Gossypium tomentosum

COMMON NAME

Maʻo or Hawaiian cotton

TYPE

​Shrub

FAMILY

Malvaceae

NOTES

Typically growing in the wild to 3-6' tall spreading to as much as 7-10' wide.  Plants feature 3- to 5-lobed, maple-like, silver green to gray-green leaves. Bright yellow hibiscus-like flowers (to 2-3" wide) bloom singly or in clusters of 2 or 3 from the leaf axis. In Hawaii, flowers bloom from summer through winter. Flowers are followed by ovoid podswhich split open when ripe to release the seeds which are embedded in brown fibers.  The native Hawaiian cotton, or maʻo, helped to save the cotton industry in modern times. When maʻo is crossed with other cotton strains, the resulting commercial hybrids are less attractive to insect pests that destroy cotton crops.

GEOGRAPHIC REGION

Endemic to the Hawaiian Islands

NATIVE HABITAT

Low, hot, dry coastal areas at elevations from sea level to 120 m (390 ft)

WEB SOURCES

wikipedia.org

nativeplants.hawaii.edu

missouribotanicalgarden.org



Gossypium tomentosum