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In Persian poets' poems, especially Ferdowsi's Shahname, there are references to cotton ("panbe" in Persian).Marco Polo (13th century) refers to the major products of Persia, including cotton.John Mandeville, writing in 1350, stated as fact the now-preposterous belief: "There grew there [India] a wonderful tree which bore tiny lambs on the endes of its branches.These branches were so pliable that they bent down to allow the lambs to feed when they are hungry." (See Vegetable Lamb of Tartary.) By the end of the 16th century, cotton was cultivated throughout the warmer regions in Asia and the Americas.The fiber is most often spun into yarn or thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile.The use of cotton for fabric is known to date to prehistoric times; fragments of cotton fabric dated from 5000 BC have been excavated in Mexico and between 6000 BC and 5000 BC in the Indus Valley Civilization.
Noting its similarities to wool, people in the region could only imagine that cotton must be produced by plant-borne sheep.
It clothed the people of ancient India, Egypt, and China.
Hundreds of years before the Christian era, cotton textiles were woven in India with matchless skill, and their use spread to the Mediterranean countries.
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus Gossypium in the mallow family Malvaceae. Under natural conditions, the cotton bolls will increase the dispersal of the seeds.
The plant is a shrub native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including the Americas, Africa, and India.