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Save Florida's Bromeliads
A Method for Conserving Florida's
Native Airplants

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Florida's Native Bromeliads     

Tillandsia usneoides
Spanish Moss

Tillandsia usneoides
Scientific name:  Tillandsia usneoides L.

Former names:  Dendropogon usneoides (L.) Eaf.

Common names: Spanish moss.

Status in Florida: Not listed as threatened.

Threats to this plant in Florida: None.

Distribution: From southeast U.S. (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas) to central Argentina and Chile (Spanish moss has the broadest geographical range of any bromeliad).
Distribution in Florida: All counties in Florida.

Occurrence in Florida: Common.

Habitat: Hammocks (usually on oaks), pinelands and scrub; prefers moist, brightly exposed habitats; can withstand extreme temperature fluctuation and low rainfall.

Description: Epiphytic; rootless; abundantly branching; plants overlap on tree branches; plants usually 15-20 cm (6-8 in.) long (up to 45 cm [18 in.] long); leaves (3-5 cm [1-2 in.] long) not dilated at the base (1-2 mm [1/16 in.] wide); live leaves covered with gray-green scales; leaves greener when plant is in good health (gray leaves may indicate moisture stress or other environmental factors); flowers (usually one per plant) greenish-yellow and fragrant, lasting about 4 days; seed capsules 15-20 mm (1/2 -3/4 in.) long; seeds (2-23 per capsule) 2-3 mm (1/8 in.) long, with comate hairs; reproduces by seed and vegetative growth.

Time of flowering: Spring (mainly April).

Coile NC. 2000. Notes on Florida's Endangered and Threatened Plants. FDACS/DPI, Bureau of Entomology, Nematology and Plant Pathology, Botany Section. Contribution No. 38, 3rd ed., Gainesville, FL.

Florida Natural Areas Inventory. 1997.  Matrix of Habitats and Distribution by County of Rare/Endangered Species of Florida. Florida Natural Areas Inventory/The Nature Conservancy.

Long RW, Lakela O. 1976. A Flora of Tropical Florida. Banyan Books, Miami. 178 p.

Luther HE, Benzing DH. 2009.  Native Bromeliads of Florida. Sarasota, FL. Pineapple Press, Inc.

Ward DB (ed.). 1979. Plants, Vol. 5. In: Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida, P.C.H. Pritchard (ed.). University Presses of Florida, Gainesville, 175 p.

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Florida's Native Bromeliads

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Last update: 17 February 2016