Not what it seems…

Spanish moss adds mood o the scene. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

It is a prolific plant in Florida. Visitors are told that Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is an invasive, choking pest, harming trees and other plants that it inhabits. Its dense clusters do seem to cover its hosts. The strange truth is that it is a member of the pineapple family; with tiny flowers that I have yet to see because to see them requires a microscope. I have tried zooming in on the photographs I’ve taken but have yet to find any flower; so perhaps my timing was off, and I did not capture them during their bloom time.

Truth is that Spanish Moss, aka Grandpa’s Beard, is an air plant getting its food and water from the atmosphere. Its host plants provide only a resting place though it has been known to be so dense that the host plant does not enough sunlight and therefore suffers. Folklore is that the plant, “The Meanest Man That Ever Lived”, was from an old man’s hair that grew very, very long and caught on the trees. Things are often not what they seem. But the stories are fun.

Grandpa’s Beard?! Coyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Beautiful and eerie. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Close-up Spanish Moss. Copyright 2018, Pamela Breitberg

Tree enveloped by Spanish Moss. Copyright 2018, Pamela Breitberg

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Welcomed Asian immigrant…

An amazing collection of Camellias decorate the grounds of the Maclay Gardens in Tallahassee Florida. I happened to visit during their peak January through March bloom season. Camellia are native to Asia and beloved worldwide for their graceful beauty. Enjoy.

Beautiful close up as well as from a distance. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Camellia blooms are accompanied by Spanish Moss. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

These prolific blooms grow on tall, dense shrubs. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Pretty in pink. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Still very pretty though it is past it’s prime bloom time. Camellias come in a variety of colors. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

The official website for this state park is: https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Maclay-Gardens. Beware that there is an entry fee to any Florida State Park.

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Too often ignored…

Lichen on top of cliff’s edge. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

This Lichen lives atop a rock at Lover’s Leap in Starved Rock State Park. Though its tiny, its resilience merits appreciation.

Difference between fungi, lichen, moss and algae: https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/blogs/you-moss-be-joking-if-you-lichen-this-to-fungi

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Dense stillness…

Quiet moments gazing at the wet forest floor that edges Volo Bog. Still and single in color, yet richly active with textures and diversity. Mosses, ferns, mushroom, and more….

Fern standing above the forest floor. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Moss laden forest floor. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Mushroom signaling damp forest floor. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

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Irony…

While cooler weather and shorter days lead to fallen leaves and trees beginning their dormancy, some life thrives. Seems like the moss thriving right now on dead wood is mocking the standing trees.

Moss carpeting a fall log. Copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

Moss carpeting a fall log. Copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

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Still life…

A richly covered, moss laden log on top of matted leaves, showing clear signs of springs awakenings.

The emerald green moss on this log lying atop a forest floor of drying matted leaves, seems to silently shout for attention: a clear sign that Springs awakens.  copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

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Spring’s varied habitats…

Two micro habitats on forest floor. copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Two micro habitats on forest floor. copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Two very different habitats though inches away in location. In the first image, the forest floor still has some un-melted snow while the top side of a decaying log resting on the same floor hosts a warmer habitat’s greening moss. The second image shows more green moss atop two logs resting in a typical vernal pool. Vernal pools are temporary springtime micro-habitats created when the still frozen ground has not yet absorbed the melted snows of winter.

Vernal spring pond with moss laden logs, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Vernal spring pond with moss laden logs, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

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