Here, for the first time, what is known of the tribe Gossypieae (the cotton tribe) is brought together in a single study that examines, on a global basis, the systematics and evolution of the eight genera (about one hundred species) in the tribe and presents a unified interpretation of these diverse plants, including a consideration of their phytogeography, ecology, karyology, and reproductive biology.
The tribe Gossypieae is an especially valuable subject for such a study because it comprises an entire gamut of plants ranging from those that are exceedingly rare (on the verge of extinction) to those that have been eminently successful in adaptational terms. The tribe includes the cultivated cottons, which have had a long history of domestication and can shed light on patterns of crop evolution and, to some extent, human prehistory. It also includes plants that are less intensively used by man (often for their fibers or as ornamentals) and still others that are not used at all or whose uses have not yet been discovered. Thus we find, in this single group of plants, the complete range of possible interaction of plants with man.
Natural History of the Cotton Tribe examines the place and value of broad natural history studies as a means of gaining a deeper knowledge of the biological world and man's place therein.
"[...] for botanists and plant breeders [...] Fryxell's monograph will undoubtedly remain for a long time a standard reference on the origin and evolution of cotton."
– Agricultural History