Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides)
Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides) - 2
Close-up of the wiry stems of Spanish moss. Contrary to the name, Spanish moss in neither a moss, nor is it Spanish. It's a native bromeliad that is closely related to pineapples and air plants found in the tropics and subtropics. This interesting epiphytic plant is most often found hanging from live oaks in the American Southeast, Texas, Mexico and Caribbean Islands where it clings to the bark of these trees by tiny scales on their long thread-like stems. Spanish moss is completely harmless to their host trees, except in some cases where there can be so much of it that it actually blocks the sunlight needed for photosynthesis. This was found in an area along the Rio Grande right next to the US-Mexico border near Alamo, Texas.
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