Page 82 - South Mississippi Living - January, 2022
P. 82

 story by John N. Felsher
After Centuries, It’s Still the Stuff of the Deep South
P robably no other plant more epitomizes the Deep South and the Southern way of life than Spanish moss. Movies, television shows and artworks depicting the South almost always show stereotypical live oak trees festooned with the wispy gray plant that blankets
hardwood forests and swamps from East Texas across Mississippi to Southeastern Virginia.
Centuries ago, the plant contributed to tensions between competing European colonial powers on the Gulf Coast. The plant reminded Frenchmen of long, flowing gray beards worn by Spaniards. They called it Barbe Espagnol, or “Spanish Beard.” Highly insulted, the Spanish retaliated by naming the plant Cabello Frances or “French Hair.” In the end, the French somewhat prevailed in this competition and the “Spanish” part stuck.
  82 | January 2022 | SOUTH MISSISSIPPI Living

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