Spanish Moss Is Not Your Tree's Enemy

Aug 11, 2018

Credit Raj Singh / LSU AgCenter

Spanish Moss is a flowering plant belonging to the bromeliad family, which makes it related to pineapples.

I get a lot of questions with concerns about Spanish moss damaging trees. Thankfully, Spanish Moss is not a parasite, contrary to what many believe. Spanish Moss is considered an epiphyte. That means it lives on the tree but is independent of the tree itself. Spanish Moss doesn't invaded the tree; it only uses the tree for structural support and doesn't get any nutrition from the tree. It doesn't invade the tree's living tissue, unlike mistletoe or other parasitic plants.

Spanish Moss has no roots; it gets everything it needs from light, water, and air.

Spanish Moss can be seen growing in many tree species as well as in dead trees, fences, and utility lines. Because people often see Spanish moss living on a dead trees, this may lead to the mistaken belief that the Spanish moss was related to the tree's demise. This would be incorrect.