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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 number of male and female adults of each thrips species collected from five 3.8 L samples of Tillandsia usneoides epiphytic on trees of different species in Leon and Gadsden Counties, Florida.
Orchids grow from a wall cloaked with Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides).
After collecting a very large form of Tillandsia usneoides, I hand pollinated the green perfumed flowers and sowed the seeds to increase stocks.
-- On 2 June 1992, a pair of Clay-colored Robins brought food, at least five times, to a nest hidden in a dense clump of Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) at Anzalduas.
Other epiphytic species are Aechmea nudicaulis (L.) Griseb., Billbergia horrida Regel, Tillandsia usneoides (L.) L., T.
Seasonal patterns of growth, tissue acid fluctuations, and [sup.14]C[O.sub.2] uptake in the crassulacean acid metabolism epiphyte Tillandsia usneoides L.
Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) and small ball moss (T.
Spanish Moss, or Tillandsia usneoides, is a locally common plant throughout its range.