A Technical Report from The Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories
Epiphytes are plants that grow upon another plant, and can sometimes be referred to as air plants. While epiphytes such as Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) and ball moss (T. recurvata) grow on live plants, they are not considered parasites. In fact, Spanish and ball moss perform photosynthesis to make sugars and capture leached minerals from the colonized plant and surrounding air. Spanish moss is iconic on southern live oak trees (Quercus virginiana) and baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) in the southeastern United States, but can be found growing on numerous types of trees in humid areas.