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Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Tillandsia recurvata (Small ball moss)
Richardson, Charmaine

Tillandsia recurvata

Tillandsia recurvata (L.) L.

Small Ball Moss, Ball Moss

Bromeliaceae (Bromeliad Family)

Synonym(s): Diaphoranthema recurvata, Renealmia recurvata

USDA Symbol: tire

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

Tillandsia recurvata has narrow leaves forming grayish ball-like clusters on branches of deciduous trees.

It is a member of the bromeliad or pineapple family (family Bromeliaceae). Bromeliads are epiphytic (rarely terrestrial) scurfy herbs, with generally stiff, long leaves and flowers, often in long clusters with conspicuously colored bracts. The family contains about 59 genera and more than 1,300 species, mostly natives of tropical America. Some have been introduced into other warm regions and cultivated for use as ornamentals or for their edible fruit.


From the Image Gallery

26 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 6 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Violet
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AZ , FL , GA , LA , NM , TX
Native Distribution: Florida and southern Georgia, south Texas, and southern Arizona, with a disjunct population in central Louisiana. South through Mexico and Central America to South America as far south as Argentina.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Nueces River Authority - Uvalde, TX
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0465 Collected Jun 29, 1987 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 1009 Collected Jan 10, 1995 in Bexar County by Mike Fox
NPSOT 0310 Collected Mar. 7, 1993 in Comal County by Mary Beth White

3 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-MM-717 Collected 2010-01-27 in Hays County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1988 VOL. 5, NO.5 - Penny Campaign Grows Oklahoma Wildflowers, Wildflower Center Collects Honors, Di...

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-03-14
Research By: TWC Staff

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