Friday, November 23, 2012

Just Some Good Ol' Spanish Moss

I don't shop Black Friday. Seething, angry crowds crazed by greedy delusions of savings is sort of a Hell Realm for me. I stay at home, do a little shopping on the Internet, and play board games with the family like chess and Loteria (Mexican Bingo). Call me an introvert....

Tillandsia usneoides can be either a shy introvert, hiding in a tree trunk, or a showy diva, covering every tree in the bayou with silvery drapes that could fatally entangle Godzilla (now there's an image). It's being used for interior decorating, also, as window screens that filter pollutants and give oxygen. Here's a little bowl of it for you all:

T. usneoides, aka Spanish Moss
 It's got the unwieldy name "usneoides" because it supposedly looks like usnea, or beard lichen. But it is not a lichen at all, it's a Tilly. Its flowers are barely noticeable, and it branches more than pups.

Source: Wikimedia
 Most Tillies don't harm their hosts, and some actually help them. But Spanish Moss can grow so heavily that it can take whole branches down, and block the tree's own photosynthesis. Most trees manage well enough, however. Spanish Moss grows all the way from Virginia, USA, to Argentina. It's a remarkable Tilly.


  1. It's really a remarkable species. I was just in Florida recently and it was everywhere. The flowers are supposed to smell nice, hopefully I'll get to check out some of those tiny blooms when I'm down there next year. Might be hard to notice though unless I go hunt for them!

  2. I've heard that the flowers are scented, too, but I've never found enough of them to give them a sniff! If I ever do, I'll surely report it here.

  3. These are such cool plants! They kinda add a bit of mystery to a place.

  4. Yes, they do, I think they've been used on the sets of most ghost-story movies ever made!