Spanish Moss
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Spanish Moss
P Introduced Photo: Amber Srivastava
Common name: Spanish Moss
Botanical name: Tillandsia usneoides    Family: Bromeliaceae (Pineapple family)
Synonyms: Tillandsia filiformis, Tillandsia crinita, Tillandsia trichoides

Spanish Moss is an flowering plant that often grows on large trees in tropical and subtropical climates. It consists of one or more slender stems, bearing alternate thin, curved or curly, and heavily scaled leaves 2-6 cm long and 1 mm broad, that grow vegetatively in a chain-like fashion, hanging, forming hanging structures of up to 6 m. The plant has no aerial roots, and its brown, green, yellow, or grey flowers are tiny and not prominent. It propagates both by seed and vegetatively by fragments that are carried by wind and stick to tree limbs or that are carried to other locations by birds as nesting material. Spanish Moss is native to the American continents. Spanish moss was introduced to Hawaii in the nineteenth century. It became a popular ornamental and lei plant. On Hawaii it often is called "Pele's hair" after Pele the Hawaiian goddess.

Identification credit: Amber Srivastava Photographed in cultivation in Lucknow & BSI, Dehradun.

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