Defined in vitro conditions for callus initiation by Gossypium arboreum L. were determined, and different tissues were evaluated as explant sources, Environmental conditions tested included light versus dark, and low light versus high light. Different nutrient media as well as carbohydrate sources were examined. Our data show that hypocotyl tissue was superior to cotyledon or leaf tissue as the explant source for callus proliferation; the Murashige-Skoog inorganic formulation with (in mg per 1) 100 myo-inositol, 0.4 thiamine-HCl, 2 indoleacetic acid (IAA), 1 kinetin, and 3% glucose solidifield by agar was the best medium to initiate callus. Cultures with sucrose as a carbohydrate source browned rapidly. Callus proliferation was superior under high light (8000 to 9000 lux) conditions at 20 +/- 1 degree C. Various combinations of auxins and cytokinins were tested for their ability to improve callus proliferation and subsequent growth of subcultures. Although the MS medium containing IAA and kinetin was found superior for obtaining rapid proliferation of callus from hypocotyl explants, a second medium containing 2 mg per 1 naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) and 0.5 to 1 mg per 1 benzyladenine (BA) was found necessary for vigorous growth of subcultured callus. A MS medium with 5 to 10 mg per 1 N6-[delta2-isopentenyl]-adenine (2ip) and 1 mg per 1 NAA was also favorable for continued subculturing.