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Florida 4-H Forest Ecology

Florida 4-H Forest Ecology

Spanish Moss: Identifying Characteristics

Spanish moss grows well in partial shade. It prefers moist environments but can survive well in dry habitats too. It most commonly adopts oak or cypress trees as hosts but may be found on other species.

Spanish moss is a fibrous, perennial, epiphytic herb. It hangs from trees in long, thick masses that may reach 20' in length.

The leaves are grayish-green, narrowly linear, and up to 2" long. The plant appears filamentous with numerous branches and is covered with silvery-gray scales.

The flowers are tiny, inconspicuous blooms of pale greenish-blue. They form in the axils of the leaves and may give off a light fragrance at night.

Tiny capsules develop after flowers and eventually split open to release the seeds.

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