Various Native American tribes, including
the Houma and the Seminole, have used Spanish moss
for a variety of purposes. When the outer coating
of the plant is cleaned away, tough, black, curly
inner fibers are exposed. These strong
fibers were useful in many ways. The fibers
were woven into a course cloth that was used for
bedding, floor mats and horse blankets. The
fibers could be twisted into cordage that was used
as rope. The ropes were used to lash
together the poles that composed the framework of
housing. The dried fibers were used to
remove scum in cooking.
The process used to strip off the outer coating is
still used today. It consists of placing
bundles of the green moss into a shallow pond for
six weeks, long enough for the outer coat to rot
away. Dry Spanish moss was used for fire
arrows. The moss was wrapped around the base
of the shaft, lit on fire and then shot from the
was also an ingredient in the clay that was used
to plaster the insides of houses. Fresh
Spanish moss was gathered, soaked in water and
stuffed into dugout canoes to keep them from
drying out and splitting. The Natchez tribe
of Louisiana played a game that used fist-size
balls that were stuffed with Spanish moss.
The plant was boiled to make a tea for chills and
There is evidence that Spanish moss was used over
3,000 years ago to make fire-tempered
pottery. Although the moss burned away
during the firing, the distinctive pattern of the
fibers is still evident in the clay pottery.
Spanish moss is still used today by many Native
American tribes. For example, the Houma and the
Koasati use Spanish moss in the construction and
decoration of small dolls.
use of woven spanish moss blankets and saddle pads
was adopted by Conferderate calvalry during the
civil war. By the end of the war it was the most
commonly issued blanket, which is probably not
surprising considering its abundance in the south.
It was durable and waterproof, did not chafe the
horses, and allowed airflow and evaporation of
Several bird species such as
Yellow-throated warblers build their nests inside
clumps of living Spanish moss, while several
others gather the moss for nesting material.
There is at least one species of spider that only
occurs in Spanish moss and several species of bats
including the Seminole bat, roost in clumps of
The plant is used as fodder for animals.
Spanish moss is used in flower arrangements
and as decorations for handicrafts. It is
said to be excellent mulch for the garden.
Spanish moss is grown commercially for use as
packing material and as a replacement for
horsehair in upholstery and mattress stuffing.
Buy Live Freshly
Picked Spanish Moss