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Tillandsia usneoides (Spanish moss)
Dunatchik, David

Tillandsia usneoides

Tillandsia usneoides (L.) L.

Spanish moss

Bromeliaceae (Airplant Family)

Synonym(s): Dendropogon usneoides, Renealmia usneoides

USDA Symbol: TIUS

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), PR (N), VI (N)

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 Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf: White-Gray
Flower:
Fruit:

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , LA , MD , MS , NC , SC , TX , 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 Conditions

Water 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

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FAC UPL UPL UPL UPL
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.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:

Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0649 Collected Jun 6, 1992 in Medina County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 0542 Collected Aug 19, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter1988 VOL. 5, NO.5 - Penny Campaign Grows Oklahoma Wildflowers, Wildflower Center Collects Honors, Di...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Tillandsia usneoides in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Tillandsia usneoides in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Tillandsia usneoides

Metadata

Record Last Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff

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