Swamp Things BioBlitz's Journal

Journal archives for February 2023

February 27, 2023

Swamp Things BioBlitz Spotlight Species #1

Spotlight Species #1:
Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides)

What to Look For:
Spanish moss consists of slender stems bearing curved or curly leaves that grow in a chain. It is found hanging from other structures like trees and shrubs. The plant has no roots and the tiny flowers are inconspicuous. Look for grayish tendrils hanging from trees.

Where to Find It:
In the Waccamaw River watershed, spanish moss seems to show preference for the southern live oak and bald cypress, which provide abundant nutrients for the spanish moss. You may also find it on other tree species including sweetgum, crepe-myrtle, other oaks, and pines.

Why It Is a Spotlight Species:
Spanish moss is not moss. It is an epiphyte which means it absorbs nutrients and water through its own leaves from the air and rain. It’s not parasitic to the plants it colonizes and provides habitat for animals including rat snakes, bats, and jumping spiders. Despite popular myth, chiggers are not often found in Spanish moss.

Spanish moss is an important and unique species in our swamps. What’s a swamp without some Spanish moss?

Posted on February 27, 2023 10:38 PM by schidtshow schidtshow | 0 comments | Leave a comment