Spanish moss

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Related to long moss: Spanish moss

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.

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.

Spanish moss

silvery gray plant whose threadlike fronds hang from trees in the South. [Am. Culture: EB, IX: 400–401]