Spanish Moss names a unique flowering plant that grows on several species of large trees. Most commonly, this plant occurs on either Bald Cypress or Southern Oak trees.
It appears to be especially common in Bermuda, Mexico, the Bahamas, Central America and South America. The plant has also become naturalized in several other regions. These include Queensland, Australia, and French Polynesia.
Spanish Moss Physical Characteristics
Spanish Moss constitutes a variety of plant known as an air plant. It is not technically parasitic in nature since it draws no nourishment from its host plant. Spanish Moss relies upon the host plant for structural support only.
The plant consists of long slender stems bearing long, thin leaves that grow in a pendant-like fashion. These hanging structures sometimes reach a length of as much as 20 ft (6 m).
The flowers it produces remain quite small and rarely noticed. It achieves propagation via both seeds and vegetatively, by wind and birds, and rarely kills the host tree. However, it sometimes grows in quantities sufficient to stunt the growth of the host plant by reducing the amount of sunlight it receives.
Spanish Moss Uses
Spanish Moss also serves as a common nesting material for numerous varieties of birds within its range. Many people also traditionally use the plant for a variety of purposes. As a result, it still commonly serves as a source of mulch.
Once dried, it commonly served as building insulation, packing material, and even mattress stuffing in the past. It is still commonly used in smaller quantities in a variety of arts and crafts, and flower gardens.
Spanish Moss also traditionally forms the most commonly used material for stuffing in voodoo dolls.