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Name: Una
Status: other
Grade: n/a
Location: FL
Country: USA
Date: Spring 2010

Question:
Does Spanish tree moss kill or create issues with its tree host?



Replies:
Una

Please refer to the following article for a complete description of Spanish Tree Moss.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_moss

Please find these paragraphs at this web site to answer your question:

Spanish moss is an epiphyte (a plant that lives upon other plants; from Greek "epi"=upon "phyte"=plant), which absorbs nutrients (especially calcium) and water from the air and rainfall. Spanish moss is colloquially known as "air plant".

It can grow so thickly on tree limbs that it gives a somewhat "gothic" appearance to the landscape, and while it rarely kills the trees it lowers their growth rate by reducing the amount of light to a tree's own leaves. It also increases wind resistance, which can prove fatal to the host tree in a hurricane.

Sincere regards,

Mike Stewart


Spanish moss is an epiphyte, growing on another plant but not dependent on it for food. See:

http://www.sfrc.ufl.edu/4h/Spanish_moss/spanmoss.htm

J Elliott


No, this has been cited as an example of commensalism. See

http://web.fccj.org/~dbyres/mutualism.html

Sincerely,

Anthony R. Brach, PhD
Missouri Botanical Garden
c/o Harvard University Herbaria



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