Whether or not cotton, derived from species of the genus Gossypium, is mentioned in the Bible is debated. Two words are used to describe curtains, eg., II Chronicles 3: 14, Esther 1:6. Some scholars translate the Hebrew word buwts in the Esther passage as cotton. It is just as likely, however, to be linen derived from Linum usitatissimum (see entry under flax).
Cotton is the fiber that grows from the outer coat of the cotton seed. It is likely an adaptation to distribution of the seed. Cotton is native to both the Old and New Worlds with at least one species in the Arabian peninsula. With the advent of widespread irrigation, cotton is now grown on a large scale in Syria and has been grown for many years in Egypt. However, there is little evidence of its cultivation on a wide scale in Bible times.