Monday, March 5, 2012

moss, Spanish and otherwise


It would be hard to overstate the effect Spanish moss has on a landscape.



It is dominant and haunting. I am a bookish westerner/northerner visiting the South, so I think of Flannery O'Connor and Boo Radley, The Prince of Tides and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil when I see Spanish Moss dripping dry and eerie.


I took these pictures in the beautiful Carolina low country town of Beaufort.


Spanish Moss isn't even a moss. It's an epiphyte, rootless, sometimes called an air plant, that absorbs nutrients from air and water. Its tiny seeds are dispersed by wind and birds. It's been used as stuffing for mattresses and furniture.


Moss, like that in this picture I took in the Catskills, is also a simple plant. Classified as a bryophyte--a non-vascular plant, it has roots, but gets its nutrition through photosynthesis, absorbs water through its leaves, and germinates from spores.



Spanish moss isn't a parasite, but it can damage trees by blocking light and weighing down branches.


 Typically it's seen hanging from massive Oak trees.


Here it is tangling with berries


and Dogwood.


I know it would bother some people to have Spanish moss hovering over their beautiful old homes and trees, but I love how atmospheric it is.


24 comments:

  1. A beautiful post

    I love Spanish moss too. It also grows here in Florida and I often take a specific scenic drive thought a neighbourhood to enjoy the beauty. Soon the jacaranda trees will bloom, another favourite.
    Heleb

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    1. Helen--I hope you will put pictures of the jacaranda on your blog. You must tell me the best places to visit in FL--I'm planning to go next year.

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  2. I too love the moss, the oaks and the old genteel buildings.

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    1. Linda--Genteel is the perfect word for those old Southern houses. Soon I'm sure there will be people drinking mint juleps on the verandahs!

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  3. i'm not sure that i ever knew it was called spanish moss. i think i assumed it was a type of tree and it's leaves, a bitlike weeping willows.

    i love the look of it.
    i would think of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil too.

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    1. Monica--It often takes over the trees so much it hides their leaves. I haven't read Midnight for years--but am going to read it again soon.

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  4. Interesting plant and photos. At a glance it looks like white wisterias. Or quite thin icicles.
    Thank you for sharing them.
    Have a nice trip!

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    1. Haricot--they are a very dry greyish green, not pretty at all. I love your image of thin icicles!

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  5. I agree, 'atmospheric' is a great way to describe it. Ethereal, haunting, poetry-inspiring. And nothing like the radiant green we Northerners see. Thanks so much for these gorgeous photos1

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    1. Ashling--One of the things I love about travelling is seeing the different plants and landscapes. It's amazing how one plant--spanish moss, can conjure such strong imagery.

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  6. Replies
    1. Thanks, Karen. The subject made it easy1

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  7. wow, I love these pictures. I had no idea that it's called spanish moss. makes me think of Sookie Stackhouse and True Blood and vampires - lol, I propbably shouldn't make this public ;)

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    1. Yes! Sookie running through the forest. Perfect.

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  8. What lovely pictures of spanish moss it looks like fairyland and gorgeous houses!. Julie xxx

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    1. It is a bit like fairyland though one that is a little strange...

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  9. Came to your blog for the first time Navigated from Hattat blog.. and I dont want to leave this place. Your information about spanish moss is quite valuable. I always thought it was a parasite as it expanded itself on the branches of trees! But you proved me wrong.
    I read your posts beneath this one, you move your flower vase with you wherever you go, Oh i do the same!!
    Haha.. nice knowing you, following with my heart :)
    Naqvee♥

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    1. Welcome Naqvee! I'm glad the beloved Hattatts sent you here.
      Jen

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  10. I is just amazing... it gives a dreamy look on the landscape... I didn't know it has been used as stuffing for mattresses and furniture before.

    Have a lovely time Jen!

    ...and yes it's simly wonderful to find somebody you feel you have the same likings through the web... <3

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    1. Demie,
      Apparently it was used to stuff the seats of cars too. Dreamy is the right word!
      Jen

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  11. Hi Jen,

    It does look atmoshperic! At first I thought it was Wisteria not in bloom yet. The old houses look amazing! We don't have houses like that in Holland. They look really special.

    Happy day,

    Madelief x

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  12. Lovely! The South has such a unique and wonderful charm. Especially the balmy nights.

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  13. Beautiful spanish moss pictures!

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