Cottonseed Oil (Latin: Gossypium) comes from the seeds of various cotton plant species of the Malvaceae family. Specifically, the upland or Mexican cotton (Latin: Gossypium hirsutum) is the most widely planted species of cotton in the world. The annual cotton plant can grow up to 1.5 meters tall, produces yellow or white flowers, and oilseeds similar to sunflower seeds. The oil is extracted from the kernel of the seed.
Cotton plants require long vegetation periods without frosts and are cultivated in constantly warm climates. Ample sunshine, well-drained soil, and fairly dry conditions are necessary for a good yield. Cottonseed oil is extracted through mechanical processes such as crushing or more commonly by chemical processes such as solvent extraction.
The plant is believed to have originated in Central America. American upland cotton plants were taken from Mexico in the 1700s. Today, the top producers of cotton are the U.S., Uzbekistan, the People's Republic of China and India.
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