Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides)

Also known as: old man's beard

Spanish moss is a hanging plant without roots. It grows in areas of high humidity.


How does this weed affect you?

Spanish moss is problematic on Lord Howe Island where it threatens its unique World Heritage Listed ecosystems. 

What does it look like?

Spanish moss is a blue-grey slender plant without roots. Its chain-like stems and leaves are dependant on a host to grow. It will hang over sparse or dead trees in areas of high humidity. The leaves are densely covered with small scales. The flowers are 9 - 11 mm long and have pale blue or green petals. The fruit capsule is 2.5 cm long.

Where is it found?

Old man's beard has naturalised on the far north coast of NSW.  It is native to tropical and subtropical regions of America. 

More information

back to top


Herbicide options

Contact your local council weeds officer for control advice for Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides).

back to top

Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All pest plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.

back to top

For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.

Reviewed 2014