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Tillandsia usneoides (L.) L.
Synonym(s): Dendropogon usneoides, Renealmia usneoides
USDA Symbol: TIUS
Cascading masses of slender stems covered with gray scales, with a solitary inconspicuous flower at the end of short axillary branches.
Spanish Moss is an air plant (epiphyte), not a parasite, because it photosynthesizes its own energy from the sun. The scales help the plant absorb water and nutrients, most of which come from minerals leached from the foliage of the host tree.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
, VA Native Distribution:
Primarily coastal, Virginia south to Florida; west to Texas. Native Habitat:
Hangs from Live Oak and other tree
branches and telephone wires.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Shade
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Possible medicinal uses of Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides)
April 13, 2006
I recently read an article about the healing properties of Spanish Moss. It mentioned reducing bad cholesterol in the human body. What exactly are the properties in this plant that are good for you, ...
view the full question and answer
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0649
Collected Jun 6, 1992 in Medina County by Harry CliffeNPSOT 0542
Collected Aug 19, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
Record Last Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff