Common name: Spanish moss, Grandpa's beard

Native to: Mexico, West Indies, Central and South America

 

Air plants (Tillandsia spp.) are mainly from Mexico and South America. They are so-named because they use their short, wiry roots to attach themselves to branches, cliff-faces, even electricity and telephone lines, rather than rooting in soil. They can either be tropical epiphytes (growing on the branches or trunks of host trees without parasitizing them) or lithophytes (growing on rocks).

 

Tillandsia usneoides has flexible, curled, elongated leaves that are 2 to 6 cm long and grow together like a chain. The larger specimens provide a long grey veil which allows light through, but still mutes bright outdoor light. This plant's specific name usneoides means "resembling Usnea", and it indeed superficially resembles its namesake Usnea, also known as beard lichen, but in fact Spanish moss is neither a moss nor a lichen. Instead, it is a flowering plant in the family Bromeliaceae which grows hanging from tree branches in full sun through partial shade.

 

This plant's specific name usneoides means "resembling Usnea", and it indeed superficially resembles its namesake Usnea, also known as beard lichen, but in fact Spanish moss is neither a moss nor a lichen. Instead, it is a flowering plant (angiosperm) in the family Bromeliaceae (the bromeliads) which grows hanging from tree branches in full sun through partial shade.

 

 

Tillandsia usnioides

Ksh500.00Price
  • Native / exotic: Exotic

    Aspect: Partial to full shade; will tolerate full sun in very moist and humid environments. Best in bright, filtered light. Must be sheltered.

    Flowers: Tiny pale green star-shaped flowers

    Fragrance: None

    Foliage: Thin, curved or curly heavily scaled leaves gowing from a slender stem.

    Growth habit: Epiphyte, hanging from trees or rock or secured to a piece of bark.

    Hardiness: Requires maintenance; misting every day and soaking in hotter months. 

    Height: Up to 6 metres

    Spread: Up to 5 metres

    Soil requirements: Air plant; no soil

    Uses: Attractive growing through shaded tree branches or as art of a vertical wall with other Bromeliad species. 

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