ball moss
Tillandsia recurvata
  • LEAVES: elongate, recurved, 2-ranked; gray color; forms tight upright “balls” or bird’snests
  • FLOWER: small, solitary, terminal; 1/3 inch diameter, purple, three petals
  • FRUIT:
  • FORM: rootless epiphyte (epiphytes are supported by other plants but obtain no food or water directly from the supporting plants; not a parasite); does damage trees, but doesn’t shade-out leaves; weight may damage trees in storms
  • HABITAT: lives on many species of trees and shrubs, insulated wires also
  • RANGE: southeast US; Mexico
  • USES: none; can be controlled with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. gray, rootless, ball-shaped cluster; epiphyte
    2. flowers solitary and axillary

    NOTE: same family as pineapples