Monday, July 20, 2015

Live Oak with Spanish Moss, 6x6", Oil

Live oak trees are found everywhere in the south, usually, draped with Spanish moss.  The trees are huge with long, long branches that sometimes droop to the ground.  They are called "live oaks" because they cycle their new leaves all year long and never are bare.

Spanish moss was named after the first Spanish explorers who came to Louisiana and Florida.  The Indians thought the moss looked like the beards of the explorers.

Basically, Spanish moss just needs somewhere to hang out, and live oak foliage leaches an especially high amount of the nutrients it needs. While excessive growths of Spanish moss can be problematic for unhealthy trees in high wind situations, in most cases healthy live oaks have extensive root structures that keep them in place during storms.
Spanish moss is great for wildlife. Birds use it for nesting material, and it provides shelter for creatures like bats and bugs, including a type of spider that’s been found nowhere else. Throughout history, humans have used it to stuff mattresses, as packing material and insulation, and even in the car seats of some of the first Fords. (This proved to be a problem when the red ants living in the Spanish moss made their presence known – they solved this problem in the future by boiling the moss first.)
So really, y’all, there’s no reason for southern nature and wildlife lovers not to like Spanish moss just as much as the stately tree that it hangs in.

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