Archeological evidence from the Tehuacan Valley in Mexico shows the cultivation of this species as long as 5,000 years ago. This is the earliest evidence of cotton cultivation in the Americas, found thus far.
Gossypium hirsutum includes a number of varieties or cross-bred cultivars with varying fiber lengths and tolerances to a number of growing conditions. The longer length varieties are called "Long Staple Upland" and the shorter length varieties are referred to as "Short Staple Upland". The long staple varieties are the most widely cultivated in commercial production.