While exploring the Galapagos islands we came across some Galapagos (or Darwin’s) cotton.
I had never seen a cotton plant before (not much cotton is grown in Canada) the only cotton I was familiar with was what comes in plastic bags at the beauty counter in the pharmacy or grocery store.
I was surprised to see how much the little cotton puffs on the plant looked like the cotton balls from the pharmacy. It looked like you could just pluck them off of the bush and bag them, but I guess there is more to it than that unless you happen to be a finch. Finches and other small birds use the cotton to line their nests.
Five Interesting Facts About Galapagos Cotton
- The yellow flower of the Galapagos cotton shrub is the largest of any endemic or native plant in the Galapagos islands.
- The Galapagos cotton seed can float for 10 weeks or longer in salt water, the embryo remaining unharmed.
- The Galapagos cotton shrub can grow up to 3 meters high.
- Galapagos cotton shrubs normally flower only after heavy rains.
- The seeds break open and produce the fluffy cotton.
If you would like to catch a glimpse of the Galapagos cotton while exploring the Galapagos they are most easily found (according to the book Wildlife Of The Galapagos) here:
- Isabela Island at Tagus Cove and Urvina Bay
- Floreana Island at Post Office Bay
- Santa Cruz Island at Airport Road
- San Cristobal Island at Frigatebird Hill and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno
We got these pictures on our way to Las Grietas – Santa Cruz island.
Galapagos/Darwin’s Cotton (Gossypium barbadense var. darwinii)