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Author Topic: Solved: Spanish Moss  (Read 2615 times)

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Offline Tom

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Solved: Spanish Moss
« on: July 21, 2001, 08:23:30 AM »
Hanging from the Tallow tree was a plant identified with the old south. This is what a lot of folks think of when they think of the south, hanging from the Live Oaks bordering narrow roads and lanes.

My Grandmamma "Oh, don't bring it in the house, it has red bugs."

Years ago it was used to stuff pillows and mattresses.  

Its flowers are so small that most people don't notice them.        

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Offline L. Wakefield

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Re: ID Just for fun 17
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2001, 09:34:15 AM »
   'Spanish moss', of course..and one that I have seen several genus/species IDs for. In my pursuit of Evernia and Usnea species of lichen, I have come across several references that claim this is Usnea barbata. I have to say I doubt that, since barbata supposedly grows in Alaska and Canada. I thought I'd found some in Arizona in the subalpine highlands, but they let me know it was probably Alectoria instead. I did find some this summer up around Flagstaff Lake in Maine.
 Now I have to go and get up close and personal with the Louisiana/Fla/Ga Spanish moss and see if there are any similarities. I wish I could give you the other genus/species name I had heard for it.
  Does this actually have flowers- conventional flowers?- because if so, it is NOT a lichen. Nor a moss.        lw  :o ::) :o ::) :D :D :D
L. Wakefield, owner and operator of the beastly truck Heretik, that refuses to stay between the lines when parking

Offline CHARLIE

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Re: ID Just for fun 17
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2001, 03:08:26 PM »
I knew this one but didn't get here fast enough. I knew it as Spanish Moss also and do remember it being full of redbugs. Tom, you mentioned the word 'Plant', but I don't think Spanish Moss is a 'Plant'. Calling moss a plant would be like calling a mushroom or toadstool a plant. So you can call a plant a plant but if it's not a plant then you can't call it a plant but you can call it sump'n else.::)
Charlie
"Everybody was gone when I arrived but I decided to stick around until I could figure out why I was there !"

Offline Tom

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Re: ID Just for fun 17
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2001, 04:17:16 PM »
Well, let's see Charlie,

As I remember, one should ask the question, "is it organic or inorganic?"

If the answer is organic then you are supposed to ask yourself the question, "is it Plant or Animal?"

That was before we found out there were things that fell in neither category...or rather both.

If the answer is Plant then there are a lot of questions one could ask to determine which path to follow.

So you can call a plant a plant unless it's not....then it's probably a rock..or not  :-/ :D

Well you are both right.  It is Spanish Moss and it is a plant.  A species of the Pineapple family to be exact.  Here are some sites that officially and unofficially describe it.  It's pretty neat stuff.

http://encarta.msn.com/find/Concise.asp?ti=028F2000

This next site is really interesting.
http://www.bwhitman.com/local/culture/spanishmoss/spanishmoss1.htm

A personal site with pictures
http://www.geocities.com/Wellesley/7510/mosspage.html

U of Fl.
http://aris.sfrc.ufl.edu/Extension/scfor52.htm

A song I didn't know existed
http://www3.pei.sympatico.ca/wfrancis/lightfoot/spanish.htm

A page with a little different twist
http://www.fred.net/kathy/spanmoss.html
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Offline L. Wakefield

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Re: Solved: Spanish Moss
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2001, 06:48:15 PM »
   OK, so related to other bromeliads- a flowering plant, a tracheophyte. It may have usneodes as a species name but it isn't genus Usnea, cuz those are lichens and thallophyted- altogether more primitive. Similar in appearance- whatever the root word in usea and usneoides must have to do with that strandlike appearance (which all the usneas have. I have seen U. barbata and U. hirta. i've only seen pictures of Usnea longissima.)
  Dunno WHY I find this interesting- but 'tis. I have to laugh thinking about people trying to memorize this stuff in a botany course and being bored- I think it's fun. :D :D :Dlw
L. Wakefield, owner and operator of the beastly truck Heretik, that refuses to stay between the lines when parking

Offline Tom

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Re: Solved: Spanish Moss
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2001, 07:08:32 PM »
I think it is fun too LW.  That reminds me of a story  :D :D

When I was in school, one of my favorite instructors was Dr. Paul, since deceased.  Dr. Paul told us that his exams were all open book. The rules really boiled down to the fact that he wanted you there in the class because we could use our textbook, notebooks, research book(if we could get them in there), comic books if we needed them and to top things off, we could discuss the questions and answers during the test.  Dr. Paul would sit at his lab table and join in on the discussions sometimes and suggest were we could find the information or direct us if we didn't quite understand it to his satisfaction.

He said that he didn't want us to think that we had to memorize the course material.  If we were educated then that meant that we knew enough to look it up or somehow find out what the answer was.  His job was to teach us how to look up what we didn't know.

I've always thought he was pretty smart for that.
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Offline Texas Ranger

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Re: Solved: Spanish Moss
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2001, 09:45:20 PM »
That prof had his head on straight.

But, the expression "Hanging from a live oak tree" did not always mean spanish moss.
The Ranger, home of Texas Forestry


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