The plant is compact
Sending out tendrils and seeds
Sprouting from flower
In the picture above, we see that Ball Moss is a compact plant, similar and color to Spanish Moss, and like Spanish Moss, is stringy. The plant itself, however, grows differently. Instead of resembling a chain from a barrel of monkeys, T. recurvata grows in a more "normal" plant like fashion. There is a central place where the plant attaches to a limb. You can also see how the seed stalk is long and curves out. This is a key indicator for know when you have Ball Moss and Spanish Moss growing together, if you are trying to judge from a distance. I gave a picture of a seedpod dispersing seeds from a T. usneoides in the last post. Notice in that picture, that the seedpod is very close to the plant.
Another note about the seedpod of this plant: The seeds often germinate right on the end of the stalk, so the plant looks like it's "walking" ie, sending out a tendril and cloning itself. Nope, it's sprouting from the seeds, straight out of the nest!
|T. usneoides and T. recurvata growing together|
Top, bottom, left, right
Surrounded, the plant juts out
Sending seeds on stalk
There's a chance Ball Moss is good for something other than looking pretty too! A study in 2012 revealed that it could help in the fight against prostate cancer. Green Deane reports that it and Spanish Moss can be nibbled.
And there's a seed head, fully visible. Now that I know what they look like, Tillandsia seeds are easy to find, I've found them on trees, my windshield, in bushes, and all sorts of places. One long range photography project I have is to track a seed as it grows.
The seed, over time
Becomes a whole new plant
Making seeds itself
Part three involves a new-to-me Tillandsia that has very showy flowers.