Thursday, October 23, 2008

I Can Feel The Night Wind Call...

Today's Wonder of the World is...Spanish Moss!

Flickr photo by sroper2002
How I love Spanish moss!
It's so wonderful in an eerie, gothic kind of way.
Spanish moss makes me think of Southern plantations

Flickr photo by BlackDoll
And creepy cemeteries

Flickr photo by flyingwombat
And pineapples.

Flickr photo by giamarie
Did you know Spanish moss is in the pineapple family?
It is!
And it's not even a moss at all!
The poor thing is so misunderstood.

Flickr photo by peace1374
When people are not calling it Beard Lichen (it's not a lichen either,) they're saying it's a parasite! Not nice! Parasites harm what they attach themselves to, and Spanish moss wouldn't hurt a flea! It grows on trees, but all it asks is for a place to perch. It's an air plant, meaning that it gets its water and nutrients from the air and rainfall. That' s why it likes warm, humid places!

The only problem with it, is that when it gets wet it can be pretty heavy, possibly breaking off tree limbs. That, and it reduces the amount of light a tree could get, thus possibly stunting its growth. Oh, and it could make a tree's survival in a hurricane a little iffy, with all the added wind resistance.
Okay, so it has its problems. But it looks so pretty hanging there!
And it's useful! People have used it to stuff upholstery, for crafts projects, and for bedding for their plants! Plus, sweet old Mr. Wikipedia says it's great for treating hemorrhoids!
(I'm not going to picture that.)

I can imagine other uses.

Flickr photo by toastforbrekkie
It would make nice boas.
(Or is that Spanish moss actually slithering over their shoulders, forcing them to do its bidding?)

And it would make a great wig

Flickr photo by carlamarieweir
if you don't mind a few grays.
That reminds me! In Hawaii, Spanish moss is known as Pele's Hair, after Pele, the Hawaiian goddess.

Flickr photo by manueb

Speaking of hair, would you like to hear a SCARY ghost story about how Spanish Moss came to be? It takes a little over a minute, but you'll never look at Spanish Moss the same way again!

Have a Wonder-full Thursday, y'all!
Love, Becky

PS. Anyone recognize the title of this post?


Barb said...

Hi Becky,

I have missed visiting! I did a quick catch up. I am so glad your BIL is back home. Yay! The family pictures are always a favorite. They grow up so quickly (we do too-hehe).

I have to tell you that I was in a B&n yesterday. When I went into the travel essay section, I put your book out in the front (re-merchandising) and on the table. I know some of the people in the store and they thought it was great. I've got your back-hehe.


a Tonggu Momma said...

I remember that story! My grandmother, who is Cherokee, used to tell me that story. She tells it a bit differently, though. ;)

JaxPop said...

We have our fair share of Spanish Moss in Florida but I was told that it has tiny bugs in it that makes you itchy. Back in the day they used the moss to stuff the mattresses in St Augustine's Old Jail. If the inmates complained about itching (or anything else) - they were put in the stocks, minus their shirts. Guess the sunburn was worse. I also noticed that it mostly grows in Live Oaks but you never see it in Pines or citrus trees. WONDER why that is....

Finally - What idiot would think to try Spanish Moss as a remedy for hemorrhoids? Talk about thinking outside the box!!!

LW said...

A bromeliad I would have never guessed..

I remember the first time I saw Spanish moss. My future sister-in-law and I drove from Ct. to the air force base in Biloxi Mississippi, so she could marry my brother before he was shipped overseas. This was the 60’s and Vietnam was in full force.

Because of road construction, we were detoured onto streets with wonderful large southern homes and huge trees adorned in this enchanting stuff. It was at that moment I decided that I would move south when I was an adult…well forty years later I am still
thinking I need to go south. it’s cold out this morning and this is only the beginning.

and after being outside this morning my hair looks like that lady in the moss wig...


TattingChic said...

WOw, what an interesting ghost story. We don't have a lot of spanish moss where I live, so I won't be pondering it much, but if I ever see some I'll think of you and this ghost story. I don't have time to google the title of this post as I'm off and running...what is it from??? huh?

adrienne said...

Spooky story!
I used to work as a floral designer so all I can think of is what a mess Spanish moss is to work with! It was great for creating atmosphere, though - especially for anything woodsy.

Suzie said...

I dont know if I've ever seen spanish moss. Please feel free to take a frog award too. I feel the love.

Rosemary said...

Hi Becky,
I love!!!!! Spanish moss, and only wish it grew here in our trees.
Great post.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Hey y'all.
Barb, you're the best! Thanks for the bookstore help! My mom always does the same thing! I love it!

Tongu momma, PLEASE tell us your grandma's version. I'd love to hear it. Todd has some Cherokee ancestry as well--his grandma's mom? I'll have to check to be sure.

Jaxpop, I read that chiggers infest the moss after it falls to the ground--that you'll never find them in it in the tree. It makes me itch to think about it!

Hey Louise! It is a strange sight to see for newcomers! My mom just reminded me of the story my dad would tell about when some Kentuckians from their county went down to Florida to pick up the new school buses, saw the moss in the trees, and thought it was debris from a flood! It does kind of look like that!

Tattingchic, I'll wait and see if anyone recognizes it. If not, I'll tell tonight.:)

Adrienne, I know what you mean. It does make a mess when you try to separate it into smaller clumps. And I didn't know you did that. You're so creative!

Suzie, you ought to come see it. Thanks for the frog!

Hi Rosemary, I mailed off your bookplate today!

Alex said...

Becky...I cracked up with the moss on the lady's head. :) I hope you're having a good week.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Hi Alex! You too.

And folks, the title comes from Gordon Lightfoot's song "Spanish Moss"

Tara said...

What a hair raising tale! I will never look at spanish moss the same way again. LOL Very interesting post!


Salinda said...

Is it too much too mention I used Spanish Moss to decorate for my Wedding Reception? (The hall was decorated to look like a Louisiana front porch and picnic!)

Anyway you look at it, Spanish Moss is part of the romantic lore of the South.