Friday, September 9, 2011

Live Oak with Spanish Moss, 6x6", Oil

Live oak trees are found everywhere in the south, usually, draped with Spanish moss.  The trees are huge with long, long branches that sometimes droop to the ground.  They are called "live oaks" because they cycle their new leaves all year long and never are bare.

Spanish moss was named after the first Spanish explorers who came to Louisiana and Florida.  The Indians thought the moss looked like the beards of the explorers.

Basically, Spanish moss just needs somewhere to hang out, and live oak foliage leaches an especially high amount of the nutrients it needs. While excessive growths of Spanish moss can be problematic for unhealthy trees in high wind situations, in most cases healthy live oaks have extensive root structures that keep them in place during storms.
Spanish moss is great for wildlife. Birds use it for nesting material, and it provides shelter for creatures like bats and bugs, including a type of spider that’s been found nowhere else. Throughout history, humans have used it to stuff mattresses, as packing material and insulation, and even in the car seats of some of the first Fords. (This proved to be a problem when the red ants living in the Spanish moss made their presence known – they solved this problem in the future by boiling the moss first.)
So really, y’all, there’s no reason for southern nature and wildlife lovers not to like Spanish moss just as much as the stately tree that it hangs in.


Maria's Watercolor said...

beautiful Carol, love these trees, and you made the scene so peaceful

M R Anand said...

first time i have seen them..the spanish moss...nice write up and beautiful painting..thanks for sharing.

Kathy Cousart said...

You captured the light weight of the moss so well. Love the light and shadows in it! Beautifully painted and it is tough to do:) This is a favorite- could be cause I am from the South too:)

Trevor Lingard said...

Love this work Carol.
I hope you are keeping well.
Kind Regards

Tammy@Beatrice Banks said...

Beautiful! This reminds me of the gorgeous trees in Savannah. I guess you've heard the story of "don't let the bed bugs bite?" Back in the day, they tried to make beds with the moss and then discovered it had bugs hence the saying, at least that's what they told us on the Savannah tour!

suzanneberry said...

LOVE the spanish moss!! beautifully done!

Diana Marshall said...

Lovely painting, I saw a lot of trees with this moss in WA can look quite eerie when there is a whole woodland bedecked with moss. I haven't seen it here in Europe though.