Fabulous and Fascinating

Spanish Moss is great! The first time I encountered it in any meaningful way was following the Jennings blogs (Ted and Ellen) who together explore and photograph nature in the South Carolina Lowcountry, USA. I’ve learned much from them about the Lowcountry swamp or marsh environment (not to mention the city of Charleston and sometimes the coastal beaches). I’ve linked their names to their respective blogs.

I also published a post with photos of Spanish Moss in October 2017 after visiting the Propagation Facility at Dunedin Botanic Garden where I was excited to find both young and mature Spanish Moss plants. Proud of that post.. I’d only started blogging a few months earlier! See the Oct 2017 post for more info and photos.

Just recently on 25 June I was in the Winter House at Dunedin Botanic Garden and came across a lovely Spanish Moss plant – couldn’t resist taking photos!


Spanish Moss, Air Plant, (Tillandsia sp.)

–Winter House, Dunedin Botanic Garden. New Zealand.

spanish_moss_detail

spanish_moss_plant

The above plant is just a small one!

With regard to the growing of these in New Zealand I sought information from the Curator at the Botanic Garden back in 2017 and was told via email, “Spanish moss isn’t uncommon here in New Zealand many orchid growers and other City gardens grow it for display purposes or as a curiosity/interest”.

Blogger Steve Schwartzman (Austin, Texas) informed me via the 2017-post Comments, “The species grows natively here in central Texas but isn’t as common as in some of the states farther east. Much more common here is a relative, Tillandsia recurvata, that grows in clumps or “balls” that have led to the common name ball moss” and he gave me a link to his 2012 post on Ball moss.

For great photos of trees festooned in Spanish Moss in the wild simply visit Ted or Ellen Jennings’ blogs (the links are back in the first paragraph) and type Spanish Moss into the Search box. They see lots of it and the plants get really big!


Text and photos by Liz; Exploring Colour (2020)

24 thoughts on “Fabulous and Fascinating

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  1. Wow, first I’m in awe to realize that we’ve been communicating that long 🙂 ! Thank you for the lovely shout out, so glad you enjoy our sharing of the Low Country.

    I remember being surprised at your post from that October that you’d found Spanish Moss being cultivated. Who knew, especially in NZ. Your fist image here from Winter House shows off how delicate the strands are.

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  2. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Spanish moss before – it looks most unusual and must be quite a sight if there’s a lot of it draping a tree!

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    1. Probably 🙂 It doesn’t take anything directly from the tree but I do wonder if there were large curtains of it, if it would interfere with photosynthesis and thereby harm the tree.

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  3. Cool post, Liz. Spanish most is not something that I am very familiar with, having grown up in the northeastern part of the US, where it is much to cold for this plant. I’ve only seen it a few times in my life–I think it was during a visit to Georgia.

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  4. Thanks for the kind words 🙏🙏🙏. Spanish Moss trivia… what was the first automobile recall? Ford Model T. The seats were stuffed with southern Spanish Moss. Free and plentiful in the swamps of the US. However…so are tropical insects. They live in the Moss. A plan B went in place fairly quickly. 😂😂😂

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  5. Spanish moss is common in my area, draping the live oaks with gray, swaying curtains. It seems odd to see that little bit in the botanic garden; that’s about the size of clumps I see that have fall from trees to the ground.

    I have wonderful memories of Spanish moss from childhood. A great-aunt who lived outside Baton Rouge, Louisiana, stuffed pillows and mattresses with it for us ‘babies’ to use. She told us never to collect moss that was touching the ground, as insects would crawl into it. That’s probably folk wisdom, as I’ve seen various insects on moss hanging freely from tree limbs.

    It’s been a long while since I’ve slept on Spanish moss, but I’ve stayed in the oldest building in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana several times. It’s an example of a Cajun technique called bousillage: a combination of mud and moss mixed together and used to fill spaces in a building’s walls by draping it over cross-pins (batons, or barreaux) that were placed between the vertical timbers. After being smoothed and allowed to dry, the outside of the wall would be covered with wood and the inside walls were plastered.

    At one time, I had a photo showing a cut-out in the bousillage wall, but where it went, I don’t know. Here’s a photo of that building, the old <a href="http://www.varnishgal.com/cityhotel.jpg&quot; City Hotel, now a bed and breakfast.

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  6. My sweetheart loves Spanish Moss and has some in his stumpery (both real and artificial, the latter spray painted grey). I thought it was a bit creepy at first, but I’m coming around to seeing it his way.

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