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Botanical Garden

Tillandsia usneoides - Spanish moss

Family Bromeliaceae


The genus Tillandsia includes over 400 species ranging from the southern U.S. through South America. A dozen species are native to Florida. Most species form rosettes of leaves with a flower spike emerging from the center like most other bromeliads. Spanish moss is a hanging clump of very small bromeliads connected by short stems. It is an epiphyte that grows on other plants. Water and nutrients from the air collect on the tiny hairs that cover the leaves and give them the gray color. A single small green flower is produced each spring by each mature plant in the cluster.


See plants along the boardwalk at Lake Oneida.


Individual plants are a few inches long. Strands of plants may be several feet long.

Care Instructions:

Light: full sun

Water: drought tolerant but prefers a humid environment

Soil: grows on trees, will not grow on or in the ground

This native plant is hardy throughout northeast Florida. It may be cultivated in a garden and responds well to watering.