Spanish Moss

Home/Plants/Spanish Moss

Project Description

Spanish Moss

Tillandsia usneoides


Range/Geographical Distribution: Along the coast from Virginia to Texas and south to Chile and Argentina. It has been introduced to Hawaii and Australia.

Habitat: Wet habitats including swamps, rainforests, mangroves, and near waterways.  Commonly found hanging from bald cypress, live oak, elm, gum, pecan, and pine trees. 

Description: A fibrous and rootless plant that droops from tree limbs.  Stringy gray stems with narrow, fuzzy, gray leaves. 

Size: Masses can reach 20 feet in length.

Breeding: Blooms in late summer with small blue/green flowers.  Seed capsules split open when ripe and release seeds into the wind.

Predators/Ecological Importance: Although Spanish moss does not directly harm its host, it can cause increased wind resistance and reduce the amount of light that can penetrate its hosts’ leaves.

Conservation Status: No legal status.

Interesting Facts: Spanish moss is considered an epiphyte (“air plant”) and not a parasite because it photosynthesizes and produces its own energy. This plant was once harvested for stuffing car seats, mattresses, and furniture as well as for packing material.

On the Coast: Spanish moss is abundant along the Georgia coast where it can be seen hanging from trees, bushes, and sometimes even man-made structures.

Project Details


help desk software