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Gossypium tomentosum, photo courtesy of Joshua McCullough/PhytoPhoto
Gossypium tomentosum, photo courtesy of Joshua McCullough/PhytoPhoto

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Zones H2
Minimal Water

Gossypium tomentosum

Hawaiian Cotton, Ma'O
Evergreen, Shrubs, Flowers


This genus includes the species used to make cotton fabric, but the two plants described here are better-looking and more suitable for use in gardens. Both are mounding, spreading, leafy shrubs with an almost tropical look. Adapted to hot, dry areas.

Gossypium tomentosum

Native to Hawaii. Grows 3–6 ft. tall and wide. Pure yellow, 2–3-in.-wide flowers are produced much of the year and show off nicely against the silvery green, maple-like leaves. Seed capsules have brown fuzzy seeds with shortcottony hairs. This plant has been used to breed disease- and insect-resistant commercial cotton plants. Good as specimen shrub, informal hedge, or high groundcover. Performs best in well-drained soil with little water.

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