Spanish Moss... or what is that stuff hanging down from those trees?

Real Estate Agent with Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch!

Just as many visitors, when I first came to Florida and noticed this strange gray stuff hanging off trees and power lines, I wondered what it was and why it was there. 

Unfamiliar with it, I found it rather unappealing.  It eerily reminded me of cob webs --- something I could tolerate maybe for Halloween but otherwise could not understand why it wasn't cleaned up.

Florida Plants, Spanish MossSpanish Moss, Florida Plants

Having lived in the South for many years now, I find that I have gotten used to the gray stuff that is called Spanish Moss

In fact, I even discovered that I can find some strange beauty in it.  It has a certain way to gently sway in the breeze and it changes appearance with the way the light filters through it at different times of the day.  I guess after all these years, Spanish Moss is  starting "to grow on me!"

So what is Spanish Moss, sometimes also called Florida moss, or gray beard (how fitting is that?).  It actually is not a moss at all but an epiphyte plant which grows on another plant but does not rely on it for food. 

Spanish Moss is not an air plant neither as it does not have a root system.  The plant catches moisture and nutrients from the air through its silvery-gray scales, during droughts the plant just goes dormant until moisture returns.

Birds, bats, and squirrels make use of the plant for nesting material.  Florida's Indians used the plant for bedding, making cords, or in the making of clay pots. Even in the early parts of this century, Spanish moss was used industrially for stuffing upholstery and mattresses.  Today you may see it in flower arrangements, as mulch, or just hanging from trees!

Spanish Moss, Gray Beard

If you are thinking about buying a home or land for personal or investment use, or you are thinking about selling in Hernando County, Florida, including the communities and neighborhoods of Hernando Beach, Weeki Wachee, Brooksville and Spring Hill, Glen Lakes, Timber Pines, Silverthorn, Seven Hills, Sterling Hill, Pristine Place, and Southern Hills Plantation and you want to work with a local area Realtor who knows these neighborhoods please contact Silvia Dukes, P.A., Tropic Shores Realty.

Let me help you find Your Place in the Sun!

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 For more information about Hernando County Homes and Land for sale including Spring Hill and the communities of Timber Pines, Glen Lakes Golf and Country Club, Silverthorn, and Hernando Beach , please call or visit my website!

Let me help you find Your Place in the Sun!


Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate

Tropic Shores Realty, 3441 Deltona Blvd, Spring Hill, FL 34606

Phone: 352-584-7441    Email:   Website:


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The Rains Team
Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners - Hoschton, GA
A higher standard in real estate

Hi Silvia: I've always loved the way trees look with the Spanish Moss; they are just so much more elegant with it. Thanks for sharing your photos!

Have a great day,

Anne Rains

Feb 19, 2009 11:57 PM #1
Nancy Pav
Long & Foster - Ashburn, VA
Nancy Pav, Your "GottaHave" Realtor


I've always liked Spanish moss....very exotic for a girl from the northeast.  And I appreciate you sharing it's "story"

Feb 20, 2009 12:02 AM #2
Charlie Fraser
Charles Fraser Realty Group - Hilton Head Island, SC

Spanish Moss is one of the most distinguished characteristics of the south.

Feb 20, 2009 12:04 AM #3
Linda Bourgault
lulugraphix-creative photography & fine art - Flower Mound, TX

Good morning Silvia—I'm pleased to know the Spanish Moss is growing on you-LOL! My family has deep southern roots with my mother's side hailing from the bayou and my father's side from the Garden District in New Orleans. I've been enamored with SP all my life. My favorite time to see it is on a foggy morning as the sun rises and draws the mist into it's streams of light! Yes, a southern gal can wax almost poetically about the beauty of Spanish Moss - LOL! Great post... brought back so many memories.

Feb 20, 2009 12:21 AM #4
Cherimie Crane
Cherimie Crane & Associates - Beaufort, SC

I love this post! Living in Beaufort, SC, I am lucky enough to see spanish moss EVERYWHERE. I love the look it gives.

Feb 20, 2009 12:36 AM #5
Calvin Cowles
Cowles Home Inspection Services Inc. - Newnan, GA

As you said, Spanish Moss was used to stuff mattresses. Since many species of insect nested in the moss, many times thses insects would get stuffed into mattresses as well. Hence the saying....

"Don't let the bed bugs bite!"

Feb 20, 2009 12:57 AM #6
Jim & Maria Hart
Brand Name Real Estate - Charleston, SC
Charleston, SC Real Estate

Calvin hinted at what I was going to mention.  There are some bugs that live in Spanish Moss, fondly referred to as "chiggers" around here.  They are microscopic, and when they bite, they leave tiny red bumps all over the skin.  The bugs are actually in the red bumps, so the only way to kill them is to cut off their air supply.  You can soak in a bath for hours, or you can put a clear coat of nail polish over the bump.  It will be gone in a few days.  People who use SM for crafts or decorations will bake it in the oven for a few hours to ensure that these little pests are no longer an issue.

Feb 20, 2009 02:10 AM #7
Suesan Jenifer Therriault
JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team - Blakeslee, PA
"Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own".

The pictures are beautiful. Spanish Moss has always held a certain appeal to me.

Feb 20, 2009 02:28 AM #8
Mary Douglas
United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado - Red Feather Lakes, CO
REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Hi Silvia! This is one thing I love about ActiveRain - I learn something new everyday! I have been to Orlando, but honestly don't recall seeing Spanish Moss, and I never  knew anything about it. Thank you for the post!

Feb 20, 2009 12:34 PM #9
Toula Rosebrock
Diane Turton, Realtors, Forked River, NJ - Lacey Township, NJ
Broker/Sales Associate, Realtor, Lacey Township,

Hi Silvia:

These photos are beautiful...I do like the Spanish moss hanging from them.

Feb 22, 2009 12:21 AM #10
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