"S" is for Spanish moss
"S" is for Spanish moss. Spanish Moss is a gray tree-borne epiphyte native to the coastal plain of the southeastern United States. As an epiphyte, Spanish moss gets water and food from the air and does not harm the host tree. It is not a true moss but a relative of the pineapple family. It produces small, yellow-green, three-petaled flowers in the spring and early summer. In mid- to late summer seedpods burst forth and rely on the wind for distribution. The plants are a tangle of long stems and slender leaves. The individual mosses can extend over twenty feet in length and are host to red bugs and spiders. Draped in live oaks and cypress, Spanish moss is a familiar and evocative symbol of the lowcountry—some find it restful, others sinister.