Friday, April 20, 2012

High 85 lo 63 Rain last night and I hear Thunder of in the distance now. GREAT!! Spanish Moss

Spanish Moss (pics are on March 23rd post) 

Spanish Moss  is an air-feeding plant  found mainly upon cypress, gum trees, oaks, elms, and pecan trees in South Louisiana and Florida. It is not a parasite and does not live off the trees upon which it grows, nor is it harmful to the trees. It has been noticed, however, that its presence on pecan trees tends to reduce the yield, owing, no doubt, to the fact that to some extent it shadows the buds of the fruit.

Spanish moss is not propagated by seeds but by fragments or festoons. These fragments are carried from tree to tree by birds and the winds. Birds frequently use strands of moss in building their nests, and in this way distribute the festoons. Evergreen trees seldom have moss on them, for the green leaves tend to ward off the festoons carried by the winds or dropped A moss which springs from a festoon or fragment grows to a great length, often reaching 10 to 20 feet. In the early summer this plant produces a very small yellow flower, hardly visible to the naked eye. Moisture and dust from the air produce all the nourishment necessary to keep the plant alive and growing. The plant absorbs water readily; it is, in fact, about twenty-five percent water.
The fiber of Spanish Moss was originally used for mattresses, and in upholstering, and in the construction of mud and clay chimneys. It was also used extensively for binding mud or clay in plastering houses. In more recent years it is used almost exclusively as a filler in overstuffed furniture and upholstery.  Now we use it in landscaping and potted plants to retain moisture
Spanish Moss  consists of an outer bark of a grayish color which protects the fiber within. This bark is mostly sap and vegetable matter and decomposes very rapidly when moistened sufficiently and placed into piles. Within this bark is a very resilient, wiry fiber which is the commercial moss was widely used in overstuffed furniture, upholstery, mattresses, automobile seats, and cushions of various kinds. No known insect will attack moss fiber, eat, destroy or live within it. Moss ranks next to curled hair in resiliency. That is why it is desirable for use in upholstery. Moss was  not widely  produced or handled commercially in any states other than Louisiana and Florida. 
I also read that during the Civil War wool was hard to get a hold of so the soldiers would weave the ginned moss, which resembles horse hair, into horse blankets.  They said they were durable and cool for the horses.

Your lesson on Spanish Moss; aka tree hair or Spanish beard. 

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