Spanish Moss | Nature Boom Time


[TICKING].[ALARM].[FIREWORKS].♪♪ CHARLIE: HEY GUYS,
I’M CHARLIE, TODAY I’M HANGING OUT IN
SAVANNAH GEORGIA, WITH MY FRIEND, KIRBY, AND
WE CAME ALL THE WAY DOWN HERE TO CHECK OUT THIS STUFF,
TILLANDSIA USNEOIDES. JUST A FANCY WORD
FOR SPANISH MOSS. COOL, COOL, ALRIGHT,
SO TODAY WE’RE TAKING A QUICK BREAK FROM TREES
AND TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE,
SPANISH MOSS. WHY? BECAUSE SPANISH MOSS IS ACTUALLY
SUPER INTERESTING, JUST WAIT,
YOU’LL SEE. AND IN PLACES LIKE SAVANNAH,
GEORGIA, IN THE SOUTH, IF YOU HAVE TREES, YOU
PROBABLY HAVE SPANISH MOSS TOO, BECAUSE THIS STUFF,
IT REALLY IS EVERYWHERE. SPANISH MOSS IS ALL OVER
THE PLACE IN THE SOUTH, AND I’M NOT EXAGGERATING, IT’S PRETTY MUCH ALL
OVER THE PLACE. WE FOUND IT IN SAVANNAH
GROWING ON THE TREES, ON THE PARK BENCHES,
LYING ON THE SIDEWALK, MAKING EVERYTHING LOOK SUPER
OLD AND PRETTY SPOOKY TOO. THERE’S ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
LIKE IT IN THE NORTH WHERE I’M FROM. IT KIND OF LOOKS LIKE A VINE
THAT IS SLOWLY TAKING OVER A TOWN, OR LIKE
MOTHER NATURE JUST VOMITED OVER EVERYTHING. BUT THE THING IS, THAT’S
NOT REALLY TRUE AT ALL. AFTER VISITING SAVANNAH,
KIRBY AND I FOUND OUT THAT A LOT OF THE THINGS WE THOUGHT
WE KNEW ABOUT SPANISH MOSS WEREN’T TRUE, SO IT’S A
PRETTY MISLEADING PLANT. I MEAN FOR ONE THING, IT’S
GOT A PRETTY SNEAKY NAME, SPANISH MOSS. THE THING IS, HERE’S
WHAT WE FOUND OUT. SPANISH MOSS IS
NOT SPANISH. YEAH, HOW WEIRD IS THAT? SPANISH MOSS IS NOT SPANISH,
IT’S ACTUALLY NATIVE TO THE SOUTH EASTERN
UNITED STATES, PUERTO RICO AND THE VIRGIN ISLANDS. SO, IT’S AS SPANISH AS
KIRBY, WHICH MEANS IT’S REALLY THAT
SPANISH AT ALL. AND, THE THING
IS, THERE’S MORE. SPANISH MOSS IS
NOT EVEN A MOSS. SUPER WEIRD! SPANISH MOSS IS
NOT A MOSS. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT
MAKES MOSSES MOSSES ARE THE FACT THAT THEY REPRODUCE
USING SPORES. BUT, SPANISH MOSS REPRODUCES
USING SEEDS, NOT SPORES, SO IT’S NOT A MOSS. SO, YEAH, THIS GUY
ISN’T EVEN A MOSS. SO, SPANISH MOSS ISN’T
SPANISH, AND IT ISN’T A MOSS, THEN WHAT IS IT? WELL, MOST PEOPLE THINK IT’S
AN INVASIVE PLANT PARASITE THAT’S KILLING TREES, WHICH
IS TOTALLY UNDERSTANDABLE, BECAUSE I MEAN JUST
LOOK AROUND, IT’S ALL OVER THE PLACE, LOOKS
LIKE IT’S SUCKING THE NUTRIENTS FROM THE TREES. BUT, THE THING IS,
THAT’S NOT TRUE EITHER. BECAUSE SPANISH MOSS
ISN’T DAMAGING THESE TREES, IT’S ACTUALLY
PRETTY HARMLESS, EVEN THOUGH IT’S GROWING
ALL OVER THEM, IT’S NOT HURTING THEM. SO WE HAVE A SUPER TRICKY
PLANT ON OUR HANDS HERE, SPANISH MOSS IS NOT SPANISH,
AND IT’S NOT A MOSS, AND IT’S NOT KILLING TREES
LIKE PEOPLE THINK IT IS, SO THEN WHAT THE HECK
IS GOING ON HERE? SPANISH MOSS, YOU SLY DOG,
WHAT ARE YOU UP TO? OK, SO AFTER A LITTLE
BIT OF RESEARCH, KIRBY AND I UNCOVERED
THE TRUTH, SO HERE WE GO. SPANISH MOSS IS A
FLOWERING PLANT, LIKE A TULIP OR A ROSE,
THAT GROWS ON TREES. AND, THEY REPRODUCE BY
PRODUCING THESE TINY, LITTLE SEEDS,
THAT LOOK LIKE THIS. THEY HAVE THESE LITTLE
HAIRY PARTS THAT ACT KIND OF LIKE SAILS, THEY
CAN CATCH THE WIND. SO, THE WIND PICKS
UP THESE SEEDS, WHICH THEN FLY
THROUGH THE AIR, UNTIL THEY LAND ON ANOTHER
SURFACE, LIKE A TREE, AND BEGIN TO GROW. AND THEY GROW IN A WHOLE
VARIETY OF PLACES BECAUSE THEY’RE AIR PLANTS,
AKA EPIPHYTES. MORE FANCY WORDS. COOL, COOL SO WHAT
EXACTLY IS AN EPIPHYTE? WELL, MOST PLANTS LIKE TREES
OR FLOWERS YOU SEE GROWING IN A GARDEN SOAK UP
THE MAJORITY OF THE WATER AND NUTRIENTS THEY NEED
THROUGH THEIR ROOTS. BUT, EPIPHYTES DON’T DO
THAT BECAUSE EPIPHYTES DON’T HAVE ROOTS, THEY’RE
PLANTS THAT CAN HARMLESSLY GROW ON OTHER PLANTS BECAUSE
THEY GET ALL THE WATER AND NUTRIENTS THEY NEED
FROM THE AIR, RAIN, AND SOME OF THE DEAD JUNK
LYING AROUND THEM. SO, SPANISH MOSS IS ONE OF
THESE PLANTS, AN EPIPHYTE, AND IF WE ZOOMED IN ON A
PIECE OF SPANISH MOSS, IT WOULD KIND OF LOOK
LIKE THIS, ON THE RIGHT, COVERED WITH A BUNCH
OF TINY SCALES, THAT ARE TRAPPING ALL OF
THE NUTRIENTS THAT SPANISH MOSS NEEDS TO GROW. SO IT DOESN’T NEED
ROOTS AT ALL, BECAUSE THESE SCALES ARE
TRAPPING ALL OF THE NUTRIENTS IT NEEDS. IT DOESN’T EVEN NEED TO
BE IN SOIL, REALLY, THEY KIND OF JUST EXIST,
ATTACHED TO RANDOM THINGS, HANGING OUT ALL
OVER THE PLACE. BECAUSE OF THAT, THEY CAN
GROW ON OTHER PLANTS, LIKE TREES, JUST DRAPED
OVER A LIMB OR TWO, WITHOUT HARMING
THEM AT ALL. ALRIGHT, I THINK
WE’VE GOT IT. PARASITES, SUCK THE LIFE
OUT OF OTHER PLANTS. EPIPHYTES, SUPER CHILL, THEY’RE JUST KIND OF
HANGING AROUND. SPANISH MOSS ARE EPIPHYTES. SPECIFICALLY, SPANISH MOSS IS
IN THE FAMILY, BROMELIACEAE, AND YOU KNOW WHAT’S CRAZY? GUESS WHAT ELSE
IS IN THAT FAMILY? PINEAPPLES, YEAH,
CRAZY RIGHT? SO, SPANISH MOSS IS MORE CLOSELY
RELATED TO PINEAPPLES THAT ANYTHING FROM SPAIN. SO, MAYBE IT’S
TIME FOR A RE-BRANDING? DITCH THE OLD NAME AND
COME UP WITH SOMETHING NEW, LIKE “PINEAPPLE HAIR” OR
“THE FRIENDLY SPAGHETTI PLANT” OR “THE CHILL TREE TOUPEE.” YOU KNOW, JUST A COUPLE
OF IDEAS, SURE MAKES A LOT MORE SENSE TO ME.[FIREWORKS]

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