Tree Beard

Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is neither Spanish, nor a moss, nor a lichen.


It’s actually an air plant, in the same family as pineapples. I have read that Native Americans called it, “tree beard.”  Given its characteristic long drape from high branches in the trees that host it, there is no wonder why it got that name. What is more unclear is how the plant got associated with Spain.

This plant material has been used to stuff voodoo dolls and swamp cooler pads as well as walls of French colonial buildings in a technique called “bousillage.”

I enjoyed viewing this plant after a long walk along the Anhinga Trail in the Everglades National Park in South Florida, USA.

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