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A genus of perennial shrub of the Malvaceae family, widely grown because of the cotton fiber derived from its seed covering. The bark of some species is diuretic, emmenagogic, and oxytocic.See: cotton; gossypol
Includes G. hirsutum (Gossypium arboreum, G. barbadense, G. herbaceum), the commercial cotton plant of the family Malvaceae.
Cotton seeds are a residue of the cotton industry and, after extraction of the oil, the residual cottonseed cake is much valued as a protein supplement for livestock. The seeds contain gossypol, a toxic polyphenolic pigment, and unless the processing is appropriate the cake and meal can be very poisonous, causing severe myocardial necrosis and liver damage. Ruminants may be affected but the severest disease occurs in pigs. Clinically there is congestive heart failure and severe dyspnea. The cake is also very low in vitamin A and nutritional deficiency may result.