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Cotton is a surprisingly challenging plant to master. Cotton plants can be found naturally throughout the world, but its thick threads can be so filled with seed as to be completely unusable. It requires both extreme amounts of water and sunlight, and rich soil. Most strains of the plant are a delicious treat to many parasites. Many textile enthusiasts wrote the plant off as too difficult to earn a profit from. Yet in the hands of a skilled Cotton Planter, even these great challenges could be surmounted. Selective breeding could make the fibers more workable and use of inventions like the cotton gin suddenly made this botanical nuisance the most popular - and profitable - fiber in the western world.