02 February 2011

Tillandsia usneoides - Spanish Moss is Uniquely American

The plant commonly know as Spanish Moss, Tillandsia usneoides, is an epiphyte and grows across the Southeastern US,

Hanging from trees in Cities, along Roads and throughout Urban Neighborhoods, Spanish Moss takes water and nutrients from the air.

Other common species in the Genus Tillandsia include air orchids, such as Bromeliads.

Tillandsia usneoides

Tillandsia usneoides

Spanish mos can eventually cover a tree so thoroughly as to prevent the availability of adequate light levels and the tree may die. 

Tillandsia usneoides

Tillandsia usneoides

Spanish moss is not selective as to types of host trees, however is seen often on Live Oaks, Cypress, Red Maple, Pine, Crepe Myrtle and others.

In rare instances, when Spanish moss grows too thickly, the plant masses fuse and take on a life of their own, even walking about (see photo below).

Mutant Tillandsia usneoides

Spanish moss helps define Florida's swamps.

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