Florida Plants – Spanish Moss

Spanish Moss

Spanish Moss

 

 

 

 

 

Spanish Moss  (Tillandsia usneoides)

Looking at Spanish Moss before I moved to Florida from New York always reminded me of the Old South with big plantation houses and immense trees with Spanish Moss hanging from them.  Spanish Moss still has that creepy Halloween look that seems to evoke thoughts of ghosts and mystery. Well I did some research on this plant and found out it is not actually a moss but a Bromeliad or Epiphyte( type of air plant). Spanish Moss does not have any roots but instead hangs from the branches of trees such as Cypress or Oak and wraps their stems around the branches forming a commensalism relationship with that tree in which one organism benefits and the other is not harmed. The Spanish Moss absorbs moisture and nutrients from water that washes over the tree and from the air.

Spanish Moss used to be used for stuffing material in automobile seats, furniture and mattresses however this was stopped because the moss contained chiggers or a type of bug. Spanish Moss is mostly seen in the southeastern portion of the U.S. in states such as Florida, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolina’s.  The tree in this photo was photographed near Lake Okeechobee in central Florida. Good information about Spanish Moss can be found at Univ. of Florida, Solutions For Your Life,   website. Type in Spanish Moss in the Search Box.

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