Tillandsia usneoides

Tillandsia usneoides (L.) L.

Common Names: Spanish Moss, Old Mans Beard

Family: Bromeliaceace

Habit: Tillandsia usneoides grows as an epiphyte as a series of hanging connected plants. The leaves are covered with gray lepidote scales. The base of 2-3 leaves forms a pseudobulb/stem less than 1 mm in diameter. The leaves are to 8 cm in length, without a distinction from leaf base to leaf, with an acuminate leaf apex and entire margin.

The complete, perfect, actinomorphic flowers are arranged solitarily in leaf axils, each subtended by a bract. The greenish bract is linear to ovate with an acute or apiculate apex and is equal to or shorter than the length of the calyx. There are 3 green unfused sepals in the calyx.  There are 3 light blue, unfused petals in the corolla.  There are 6 stamens that are not longer than the petals.  The ovary is superior with 3 locules and numerous seeds. The fruit is a capsule. Each seed has a tuft of hair to assist in dispersal.

Habitat: Tillandsia usneoides grow on shrubs and trees in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formation – Forests and Shrublands (coppice and scrublands) near the opening of caves and areas surrounding Fresh Water areas..

Distribution: Tillandsia usneoides occurs throughout the island groups within the Lucayan Archipelago, the southern United States, the entire Caribbean region, and Mexico south to northern South America.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Tillandsia usneoides is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.