Spanish moss

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Spanish moss,

fibrous grayish-green epiphyteepiphyte
or air plant,
any plant that does not normally root in the soil but grows upon another living plant while remaining independent of it except for support (thus differing from a parasite).
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 (Tillandsia usneoides) that hangs on trees of tropical America and the Southern states, also called Florida, southern, or long moss. It is not a true moss but a member of the pineapple family, and has inconspicuous flowers. It is used for stuffing furniture and as a packing material. Spanish moss is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Liliopsida, order Bromeliales, family Bromeliaceae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Spanish Moss


(Tillandsia usneoides), an epiphytic plant of the Bromeliaceae family, it is found in a region from the south-eastern United States to Argentina and Chile. Spanish moss covers the trunks and branches of trees with gray strands that resemble lichens. The young plant attaches itself to the bark of the tree with its roots. The stems are slender, threadlike, and branching, with subulate leaves. The surface of the plant is covered with scales that serve to absorb dew and rainwater. As the stems grow, their lower parts die; the length of living shoots may be 15-20 m. The flowers are small, and the fruit is a capsule. Most often the plants multiply vegetatively—by pieces of the stem—but they also reproduce by seeds that are covered with hairs and are carried by the wind. The stems of Spanish moss are used for stuffing mattresses, making upholstered furniture, and the like.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Spanish moss

silvery gray plant whose threadlike fronds hang from trees in the South. [Am. Culture: EB, IX: 400–401]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The effect is at once mysterious and exotic, especially to eyes accustomed to northern forests, where Spanish moss is unknown.
beautiful horse pastures with the oak trees covered in Spanish moss ...
The groom wore a classic black Calvin Klein tuxedo with ivory accents and a boutonniere with hints of cotton and Spanish moss. Serving as his best men were Raymond Dupree Petty Jr., father of the groom, and Mason Dupree Petty, brother of the groom.
Streamers of Spanish moss hang from their branches and resurrection ferns colonize their trunks in long, communal smears.
We took a bayou tour (pounds 25) which was a lovely half-day in a mysterious watery world of alligator swamps and cypress trees festooned with Spanish moss - and not a trumpet to be heard!
Lining the roads are huge live oaks whose spreading limbs, dripping with Spanish moss, create an arboreal archway green canopy over the ancient avenues.
But when it's cloudy, the atmosphere can take on a more menacing tone; and it's like being in the middle of a scary fairy tale, particularly if you find yourself in the Micanopy cemetery, which is clogged with Spanish moss and picturesque in the extreme.
Orchids grow from a wall cloaked with Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides).
The choir loft of the church was filled with ferns lovingly raised by the bride's grandfathers, Spanish moss, and hundreds of candles in wrought-iron candelabras.
You can see the stars through the trees dripping with Spanish moss. A faint breeze rustles the elephant ears; and in the distance, the sound of barking dogs can be heard.
In the arrangement shown at right, the pale mauve pansies are growing in a 6-inch plastic pot wrapped in Spanish moss; white sweet alyssum spilling over the sides gives the bouquet a lacy look.
Martha Collins and Doug Self styled the elegant event Inspired by the trees dripping in Spanish moss in Moultrie, the scheme was carried throughout the party from the invitations to the lanterns hanging from the trees to the table arrangements.