Spanish moss has many names, including Florida moss, graybeard and long moss, according to the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida. Spanish moss is commonly found on gum trees, oaks, elms, pecan trees and cypress trees. The plant is not a parasite and doesn't live off the tree; instead it's an epiphyte plant. An epiphyte plant is one that makes it own food.
A tree with moss
image by "Fractal Trees" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: jurvetson (Steve Jurvetson) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
Although the moss can be found from southern Virginia and along the Gulf Coast, in the United States, Spanish moss is commonly found in South Louisiana and Florida. In Florida and South Louisiana the moss grows in commercial quantities.
Spanish moss grows best where rainfall is heavy. The moss itself absorbs water quickly and is 25 percent water. The moss also grows well in places where there are high temperatures and high humidity. This is the reason that the swamp lands of Florida and Louisiana are prime places for the moss' growth.
Spanish moss is similar to flowers and spreads by propagation. Fragments of the moss are carried from tree to tree by the winds or birds. Birds, which use pieces of the moss when building their nest, play a huge role in the growth of Spanish moss.
The moss is also perfect for the creation of floral arrangements. Because the moss holds moisture well, it is used around the plant base of floral arrangements to lengthen the longevity of the flowers.
One way that Spanish moss has been used is for upholstering. The moss is made of a fibre material, and this fibre serves well in furniture stuffing, such as mattresses, cushions and automobile seats. Today, the moss' use in mattresses is confined to Southern Louisiana, and is normally only used in rural areas. The resiliency of moss makes it desirable for upholstery use. Insects will not attack, destroy, live in or eat moss fibre. This makes the moss very resilient.
Spanish moss has also been used for construction purposes. In the past, the moss was used for binding mud or clay while plastering houses. Mud and clay chimneys are commonly covered with Spanish moss.
- School of Forest Resources & Conservation; Spanish Moss
Spanish Moss, Moss Plant, Moss Uses
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Kay Wiki is a lover of literature and writes for over a dozen online sites. She also publishes her own website that focuses on etiquette. Wiki developed an interest in writing at a young age and studied anthropology in college. She has written numerous articles for Demand Studios.