Four years ago, during an eco-neighborhood walk, ECMS-Inglewood students collected seeds from a neighbor’s cotton tree and brought them to our gardens to cast. Lo and behold, they have now blossomed and are thriving on our campus! As part of our living campus, the cotton trees create opportunities for student learning and engagement.
Did you know…
There are 39 species of cotton, genus Gossypium, found worldwide. The one we grow on campus is G. hirsutum. Almost every advanced culture throughout history possessed and utilized cotton, considering its vast native ranges; from China, India, Pakistan, Africa, and North America. Students also learn about the history of cotton and its impact on American history and people.
Ecologically, cotton trees make outstanding nesting and shelter resources for various critters. Our resident hummingbirds pick out strands of cotton and zip away to build their teacup-sized nests made of cotton, spider-silk, and various plant fibers while carpenter bees, paper wasps, and other insects also use cotton fibers to build their nests. The lush, dense thicket in which the trees grow provide a refuge for all manner of critters seeking shade from the heat or a place to hide – massive grasshoppers, several species of birds, colonizing bees, butterflies and all kinds of life within and under the cotton thickets.
Come see for yourself!