One of the most notable things about Spanish moss is that it’s not even a moss at all - this Tillandsia is a bromeliad, and a relative of the pineapple. It’s also an epiphyte taking in its nutrition and moisture through its foliage.
Spanish moss is an epiphytic flowering plant that often grows upon larger trees in tropical and subtropical climates, native to much of Mexico, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Central America, South America, the southern United States, and the West Indies and is also naturalized in Queensland. The name “Spanish moss” actually originated as “Spanish beard”. Native American tribal people called it “itla-okla”, which meant “tree hair”. Some French thought that it resembled a conquistador’s long beard and began calling it “Barbe Espagnol”, or Spanish beard. While the Spaniards retaliated by referring to it as “Cabello Frances”, or French Hair, it never caught on.