Air Plant Tillandsia Usneoides | Spanish Moss

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One of the most common yet unique air plants found here in the United States is the Tillandsia Usneoides, better known as Spanish Moss. If you are native to the South or have visited cities such as Charleston, New Orleans, Savannah, or even our hometown of Saint Augustine, then you have probably set eyes on these whimsical, flowing strands from the ancient live oaks or swamp-loving cypress trees.

Contradicting its name, Spanish Moss is neither Spanish nor moss but is a bromeliad that is indigenous to regions of Central and South America, parts of the Caribbean, and southern United States. The name was given to this plant when French explorers recognized the resemblance of the tillandsia to the beards of Spanish Conquistadors, hence naming it “Spanish Beard” which led to “Spanish Moss”. Today the air plant is most often known for its aesthetic qualities and use in plant arrangements, but it has also historically been known for its use as mulch, insulation, and stuffing for mattresses and even automobile upholstery


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