Rain, Mud and Spanish Moss

View from my window

Rain Rain, Go Away!!

The rain, which was only a light mist on Friday evening, is now a steady unpleasant pattering with occasional heavier periods. The ground here is a mix of blackish soil and sand. If it were dry, it would be simple to brush off shoes and paws at the door – when wet, it sticks in every crevasse of shoes and paws, YUCK! We were able to take walks around the park on Saturday but since then it has steadily gotten gloomier and wetter, making for a miserable stay.

Radar shows a steady train of rain and storms coming up from the Gulf.    – And it just thundered! http://www.intellicast.com/National/Radar/Current.aspx

We are at a level of approx. 80 ft above sea level here and Spanish Moss is starting to hang gracefully from the trees – not in huge curtains like in Louisiana, but in trailing lacy “doilies” from some of the trees and shrubs. It does give that Gothic Anti-Bellum look to the place. It fascinates me because it is so alien to my Northern eyes.


Spanish Moss Factoids:

To native South Carolinian’s, these gray strands draping from the branches of live oaks and other trees are a natural part of the scenery, while many newcomers fear that it may be killing their trees. Despite its name, Spanish moss is not a moss but a bromeliad—a perennial herb in the pineapple family.

Most bromeliads, including Spanish moss, are epiphytes.

As an epiphyte, Spanish moss lives on the tree but is independent of it. It only uses the tree for support and doesn’t invade the living tissue unlike mistletoe and other parasitic plants that do.

Spanish moss gets everything it needs from sunlight, rainwater and air. Like other green plants, Spanish moss uses light in a process called photosynthesis to create its food from carbon dioxide and water. Dust in the air probably supplies some needed mineral nutrients, too.

Today it is widely used for floral arrangements and mulch. Songbirds build nests with the moss, and many other species use moss clumps for shelter, including bats, reptiles, and amphibians. Be aware that chiggers are common in Spanish moss and may cause a rash on the skin if the moss is handled.


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