Spanish Moss also known as Grandpa’s Beard

  • Scientific name: Tillandsia usneoides also known as Spanish Moss, Grandpa’s Beard

 

  • Place of origin: Native to the forests, mountains and deserts of Central and South America, the southern United States and the West Indies. Belongs to Tillandsia species which are evergreen, perennial flowering plants in the Bromeliaceae family.

 

  • Description: The Spanish Moss grows atop tree limbs. The plant’s name, usneoides,  refers to ‘beard lichen’. It consists of many slender stems bearing alternate thin, curved or curly, heavily scaled leaves 2–6 cm long and 1 mm broad, growing vegetatively in chain-like fashion, forming hanging structures up to 6 m  in length. The plant has no aerial roots and its brown, green, or yellow flowers are tiny and inconspicuous.

 

  • Grow best: Does well in warm atmospheres and very hardy. Bright light or filtered sun is recommended. Propagated both by seed and vegetative fragments that blow in the wind and stick to tree limbs, or are carried by birds as nesting material.

 

  • Use: Can be artistically suspended from wire art forms, art glass and baskets. Known practical uses are building insulation, mulch, packing material, mattress stuffing, and fiber.