Spanish moss


Spanish moss

noun

: a type of American plant that has long gray strands and that hangs down from the branches of trees

Full Definition of SPANISH MOSS

:  an epiphytic plant (Tillandsia usneoides) of the pineapple family forming pendent tufts of grayish-green filaments on trees from the southern United States to Argentina

Illustration of SPANISH MOSS

First Known Use of SPANISH MOSS

1823

Spanish moss

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Epiphyte (Tillandsia usneoides) in the pineapple family, found in southern North America, the West Indies, and Central and South America. It often hangs in large, beardlike, silvery-gray masses from trees and other plants and even on telephone poles, but it is not parasitic or structurally intertwined with its host. It takes in carbon dioxide and rainwater or dew for photosynthesis through tiny, hairlike scales that cover its threadlike leaves and long, threadlike stems. It absorbs nutrients from dust and solvents in rainwater, or from decaying organic matter around its aerial roots. Stalkless yellow flowers appear rarely. Spanish moss is sometimes used as a filler in packing boxes and upholstery, and around potted plants or floral arrangements.

Browse

Next Word in the Dictionary: Spanish n
Previous Word in the Dictionary: Spanish milled dollar
All Words Near: Spanish moss

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up Spanish moss? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).