Spanish moss isn’t really a moss, but a living, flowering plant. It’s an angiosperm from the bromeliad family. It tends to favor warm, humid conditions and that’s why it’s so commonly found in the Deep South growing in the the trees of preference, Southern live oaks and bald cypress.
Industrious minded folk have found use for the stuff over the years: building insulation, mulch, padding for mattresses (umm, no thanks), and in the 1900s it was used to pad the seats of a new contraption called an automobile. Today we still have uses for it in arts and crafts, flower beds and I think I’ll run from this one…stuffing for voodoo dolls…
As far as the Southern live oak, there are several famous old ones still living. There’s the Treaty Oak trees…one in Texas and one in Florida. And of course, as a shout out to my home state Alabama, there are the two at Toomer’s Corner on Auburn University’s campus. Unfortunately, not too long after Auburn won the National Championship, some basketcase poisoned the tree and now it appears to be dying.
And of course, the wood for the USS Constitution was harvested from Southern live oaks growing on St. Simons Island, GA. The wood from the Southern live oak is so hard that when they finished building the ship and it was used in the Revolutionary War against the Brits the Colonials were delighted to find out that the Brits cannon balls just bounced right off the ship, thus earning it the nickname “Old Ironside”.
Today’s picture was taken a couple months ago in a sleepy little town called Darien, GA one of the oldest settlements in Georgia, with a history dating back to Colonial days.
To me nothing says Southern like a big ol’ house with a big porch and throw in those Southern live oaks and Spanish moss, and well, you have a Southern classic. You can almost feel the humidity, smell the gardenias and settle in on that porch with a tall glass of sweet tea…
© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved