Tillandsia usneoides (L.) L.
Bromeliaceae (Bromeliad Family)
Synonym(s): Dendropogon usneoides, Renealmia usneoides
USDA Symbol: TIUS
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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 10 feet long.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , FL , GA , LA , MD , MS , NC , SC , TX , VA
Native Distribution: Primarily coastal, Connecticut south to Florida, west to central and south Texas, then south through Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean to South America as far south as Argentina.
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
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX
Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 0542 Collected Aug 19, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 0649 Collected Jun 6, 1992 in Medina County by Harry Cliffe
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1988 VOL. 5, NO.5 - Penny Campaign Grows Oklahoma Wildflowers, Wildflower Center Collects Honors, Di...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Tillandsia usneoides in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Tillandsia usneoides in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Tillandsia usneoides
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-03-14
Research By: TWC Staff