- Spanish moss
an epiphytic plant, Tillandsia usneoides, of the southern U.S., having narrow, grayish leaves and growing in long festoons that drape the branches of trees.[1815-25, Amer.]
* * *Epiphyte (Tillandsia usneoides) in the pineapple family, found in southern North America, the West Indies, and Central and South America.It often hangs in large, beardlike, silvery-gray masses from trees and other plants and even on telephone poles, but it is not parasitic or structurally intertwined with its host. It takes in carbon dioxide and rainwater or dew for photosynthesis through tiny, hairlike scales that cover its threadlike leaves and long, threadlike stems. It absorbs nutrients from dust and solvents in rainwater, or from decaying organic matter around its aerial roots. Stalkless yellow flowers appear rarely. Spanish moss is sometimes used as a filler in packing boxes and upholstery, and around potted plants or floral arrangements.
* * *▪ plantalso called Black Moss, Long Moss, or Vegetable Horsehair(Tillandsia usneoides), epiphyte (a nonparasitic plant that is supported by another plant and has aerial roots exposed to the humid atmosphere) of the pineapple family (Bromeliaceae). It is found in southern North America, the West Indies, and Central and South America.The silvery-gray plant often grows in large, beardlike masses. It has threadlike stems up to 6 to 7.5 metres (about 20 to 25 feet) long. The leaves, also threadlike, are about 2.5 to 7.5 centimetres (1 to 3 inches) long. The yellow flowers, which appear rarely, are stalkless, have three yellow petals, and three sepals, and usually grow singly. Hairlike scales that cover the whole plant absorb water from the air. Spanish moss sometimes is used as a filler in packing boxes and as upholstery.
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