The initiation of fiber cells on the epidermis of the cotton ovule progresses from the crest of the funiculus around the lateral circumference and toward the micropyle where initiation is delayed a few days. The distribution of initials has been described as random with some clustering of 2 or 3 cells. Recent observations indicate additional patterns of parallel ripples, circles, and Y-branching ridges of initials as well as spotty patterns. These observations, when coupled to our accumulated understanding of activating and inhibiting substances involved in fiber growth and development, suggest a mechanism(s) for fiber differentiation which has been described mathematically by others. Their model includes a short-range activation and a longer-range inhibition with either individual or whole system autocatalysis. Formation of stripe-like distributions requires some activator diffusion and saturation of autocatalysis. Although specific parameters have yet to be established for the cotton system, the activator-inhibitor model offers a means for visualization of a possible mechanism for hormone interactions and interdependency in stimulating fiber cell initiation. A more complete understanding of requirements for the initiation of fiber cells should aid in our quest to improve the quantity of cotton matured to harvest.