Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides)layered graphite drawing on mylar
36″ x 14″
Spanish moss has long held a fascination for me; I often pull handfuls off branches to idly make cords with in the same way some people make daisy chains. Yet, it's not until Northerners visit and marvel at it hanging from the trees that I feel such pride in having it in the landscape. Those of us that live here trade facts about it.
"It's not really moss you know . . . it's an air plant."
"Closely related to pineapple from what I hear."
"Pretty sure it's not even from Spain . . ."
"Perhaps you are wrong about that. It's well known that when the Spaniards arrived after their long journey, a few of them fell into deep obsession with some of the pretty native women and began earnest pursuit. The women -being fast thinkers and entirely uninterested in the furry faced men following them- climbed up into the oaks and the Spaniards climbed up after them. Much to the dismay of the men, their beards became hopelessly tangled in the branches. As they struggled, the women climbed down and escaped, but the poor lovelorn explorers stayed high in the trees. They eventually passed away, but their beards remain and continue to grow and spread from tree to tree."
Everyone nods thoughtfully save for my young nieces who scowl, forever skeptics.
This work is part of the FLOR500 project. Read more here.