Posted by plantladylin
(Sebastian, Florida - Zone 10a) on Sep 8, 2011 4:21 PM concerning plant:
"Spanish Moss" is a common sight in the deep south. It is an epiphyte that uses the Southern Live Oak, Bald Cypress, and other trees as its host. The plant has thin stems with alternate, curved, curling, heavily scaled leaves. It grows in a chainlike manner, seeming to "drip" from the trees. Being epiphytic, it does not take nutrients from its host tree but rather absorbs nutrients from air and rainfall. Tillandsia usneoides rarely kills the tree it is attached to, but it blocks light to the tree's leaves, reducing the growth rate of its host.
Posted by flaflwrgrl
(North Fl. - Zone 8b) on Dec 4, 2011 8:24 PM concerning plant:
Spanish moss is gray when dry and light green when wet and it has no roots. The flowers are inconspicuous, pale green or blue, and fragrant at night. Spanish moss is not a moss at all, but is closely related to the pineapple and other bromeliads.
Spanish moss hangs from tree limbs, especially live oak and cypress, and even from power lines and fences. It grows throughout the southeastern U.S. Coastal Plain from Virginia to Texas. Spanish moss also can be found growing in the West Indies and Central and South America as far south as Argentina.
Spanish moss gets all the water it needs from the rain and gets nourishment from the dust in the air. It is not a parasite plant. During dry periods, it becomes dormant, and it resurrects when rain returns.
It produces tiny seeds that sail on the wind and catch on tree branches. Birds and the wind carry pieces of the plant to new locations, which may be the most common means of propagation.
Spanish moss can become so thick that it shades the leaves of the trees it grows upon, and it can become so heavy when wet from rain that it breaks branches. Occasionally, trees may become weakened, but they generally are not killed by Spanish moss.
Spanish moss makes a great mulch and is often used in decorative floral arrangements and handicrafts.
Spanish moss does harbor red bugs or chiggers, and for that reason it should not be used for bedding, for stuffing upholstery, or for packing material without first treating it to kill them. Microwaving is one method used, as well as boiling in water.