Spanish Moss

The pride of the coastal south

lowcountry spanish moss
savannah national wildlife refuge
Savannah National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to observe nature along the Spanish moss covered wildlife drive.

The South Carolina Lowcountry is draped in Spanish moss, just like the rest of the coastal old south. Sights of Spanish moss evoke childhood memories of spooky nights telling ghost stories with the cousins. My grandfather’s watermelon farm was located just outside Charleston. We would congregate there every summer and spend our days running along fire breaks, playing in the barn and sleeping on the porch. Spanish moss was a big part of these memories. It surrounded us and enveloped our very beings. It became a part of us as we played under the branches of live oaks that were lavishly decorated in the grey bearded plant.

spanish moss
frampton plantation house
Jasper County’s Frampton Plantation house is surrounded by 300 year old live oaks covered in Spanish moss.

Spanish moss is a flowering plant that is neither Spanish, nor a moss. It is a bromeliad that grows hanging from tree branches in a chain-like manner. The plant is particularly fond of live oak and bald cypress trees that grow in the lowlands, swamps and savannas of the south. Here the climate is warm enough and has a relatively high humidity. Native Americans called it “Itla-okla”, which means “tree hair.” The French renamed it “Spanish Beard” because it was reminiscent of the conquistadors. After time the name evolved into Spanish moss.

Yes, I did say Spanish moss is a flowering plant.  It’s also related to the pineapple. Sounds strange, right? The flowers are tiny and inconspicuous. They are brown, green, yellow or grey. The plant propagates by seed or finds new locations when fragments break off and blow in the wind. Birds also help the process by carrying it from tree to tree.

spanish moss
frampton plantation house
The Spanish moss on Frampton Plantation’s front live oak flourishes.

Don’t worry, Spanish moss will not harm the trees. It has no roots and takes all its nutrients from the air. Even though Spanish moss grows on trees, it is not a parasite. The plant thrives on moisture in the air, sunlight, and particles found in the air. The plant is covered in tiny scales that trap and store water and nutrients. When full of water Spanish moss appears almost green. As it dries out it becomes a deeper grey.

spanish moss
donnelley wildlife management area
This Spanish moss draped drive is in Colleton County’s Donnelley Wildlife Management Area.

There are two different legends about where this plant got its name. They are both told in many versions and change with each telling. The first one is the story of a beloved Indian princess who died. She was buried at the base of a live oak. Her husband cut off her braids and draped them in the tree. As time passed, the braids became grey and the wind carried the strands from tree to tree. They turned into Spanish moss to remind us of the love between the couple.

spanish moss
ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge
The Grove Plantation House sits in the middle of Colleton County’s Ace Basin National Wildlife Refuge. The live oak trees come to life with the sway of the Spanish moss.

Another story involves the favorite daughter of an Indian chief and a Spanish conquistador. They were forbidden to see each other. As any good love story goes, they couldn’t stay apart, so the chief tied him high in the top of an ancient oak tree. The Spaniard told the chief that his love for the daughter would continue to grow even after death.  His beard grew and became tangled in the branches. Until this very day, his beard still hangs in the trees.

spanish moss
penn center st helena island
The live oaks at St. Helana’s Penn Center are covered in Spanish moss.

Spanish moss reminds us of the deep south because it grows in subtropical humid southern locations. It also grows as far down as South America, but we like to take all the credit for this beautiful plant. Is anything more magical than an evening drive through the South Carolina Lowcountry where Spanish moss sways and fireflies intermingle in a choreographed dance that speaks to the soul?

spanish moss
webb wildlife center
Hampton County’s Webb Wildlife Center is inland, but the Spanish moss grows beautifully.

For more information on the South Carolina Lowcountry visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/.

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The Lowcountry & Resort Islands Region of South Carolina includes the four, southern-most counties in the state, Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, and Colleton, which are bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by the Savannah River and the state of Georgia.

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Beautiful South Carolina Lowcountry
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Headed down the road....Edisto Island.  #edisto #sclowcountry #trees #endofday  #beauty #islandsofsc
The shore gently recedes beneath the stunning Pawleys Island Pier. The unique island town, located about 25 miles south of Myrtle Beach and 70 miles north of Charleston, exudes laid-back, beachy vibes. Locals have definitely adopted an island state of mind and encourage visitors to as well. When you go, make sure to relax on the beach, explore the famous sand dunes, or fish in one of the many adjacent creeks.⏰ Best time of the day to visit: We guarantee that you’re going to want to spend a whole day here. We recommend getting to the beach at around 10am.🗓️ Best time of the year: Pawleys Island has the best weather during the spring and early summer months.🏖️ Things to do while there: Pawleys Island Nature Park, Pawleys Island Chapel, Hopsewee Plantation.🐠 Things to visit in the area: Brookgreen Gardens (brookgreen_gardens), take a walking ghost tour, Myrtle Beach (mymyrtlebeach), Harborwalk Marina, South Carolina Maritime Museum (southcarolinamaritimemuseum).🏨 Where to stay: The Oceanfront Litchfield Inn (oceanfrontlitchfieldinn), Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort (litchfieldbeachandgolf), Sea View Inn (seaviewinn), 620 Prince (620prince).Photo by qcphotographer
Spanish moss drapes the live oak trees that are ubiquitous to the Edisto Island area. Did you know that Edisto gets its name from the native Edistow people? The Edistow Native Americans were a sub tribe of the Cusabo indians, a group of Native Americans who lived along the Atlantic coast in South Carolina.⏰ Best time of the day to visit: Stop by mid-morning. That way you can explore the island, grab lunch, and stay for the amazing sunset if you choose.🏖️ Things to do while there: Edisto Environmental Learning Center, Boneyard Beach, Scott Creek Inlet, Big Bay Creek, SeaCow Eatery.☀️ Things to visit in the area: Jungle Road Park, Bay Creek Park, Otter Islands, Spanish Mount Point.📆 Best time of the year to visit: For warmer weather come anywhere from March-August.🏨 Where to stay: Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort (frippislandrsrt), Seabrook Island Club (seabrook_sc), The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort (kiawahresort), Charleston Kiawah Island/Andell Inn (andellinn).Photo by qcphotographer
Discover at your own leisure at the coastaldiscoverymuseum 🌳  From century-old buildings with storied pasts, to wooden boardwalks that stretch into the Jarvis Creek salt marsh, there's always something to explore!
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Reposted from coastaldiscoverymuseum Hilton Head Island has the second highest tidal range on the East Coast, second only to Canada’s Bay of Fundy. The average tidal range here is 7-9 feet between high and low tides.The Salt Marsh is one of our area’s most prominent features, not to mention an essential resource. Most coastal creatures depend partially or even fully on the Salt Marsh for survival as it serves as a nursery, as well as a water filter vital for the functioning of the entire coastal ecosystem.Explore the Lowcountry up close with a visit to the Coastal Discovery Museum and head out into the marsh via the Osprey Outlook floating dock on a self-guided tour or register for the weekly Salt Marsh Discovery program to learn from an expert how and why this particular environment is so important. (843) 689-6767 ext. 223 or coastaldiscovery.org.
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A visitor takes a leisurely stroke under a canopy of live oaks draped with Spanish moss in the Palmetto Bluff (palmettobluff) neighborhood of Bluffton, South Carolina. Palmetto Bluff is a picturesque community that sits in the heart of Lowcountry. Nestled along the May River, it’s abundant with beautiful walking trails, historic sites, and stunning views.⏰ Best time of the day to visit: There is no wrong time to visit Palmetto Bluff. However, we highly recommend sticking around for one of their spectacular sunsets.🛶 Things to do while there: Stop by Cole’s for some regionally inspired Southern fare, paddle board, kayak, or canoe along the May River, go saltwater fishing, take a tour at Bluffton Jack's Old Town Tours.🌊 Things to visit in the area: Palmetto Bluff Conservancy, Old Town Bluffton, Bluffton Oyster Factory Park, May River Sandbar, Heyward House Museum and Welcome Center (heywardhouse).📆 Best time of the year to visit: For the best weather, we recommend visiting between March and May or from September to November.🏨 Where to stay: The Montage Palmetto Bluff Resort (montagepalmettobluff) is the only resort in Palmetto Bluff. However, there are plenty of places to stay in the surrounding areas including: Old Town Bluffton Inn (oldtownblufftoninn), The Inn & Club at Harbour Town (theinnandclubatharbourtown), Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island (sonestahhi).Photo by jpgriceoz
Nestled in Garnett, SC  is The Church of the Heavenly Rest. It was built in 1891 in memory of Alice Martin Marshall and her daughter Elizabeth.📸: University of South Carolina. South Caroliniana Library#thatsmylowcountry #naturallyamazing #sclowcountry #historicchurches #garnettsc #hamptoncountysc #exploresc #exploresouthcarolina
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What were your weekend views today? #DiscoverSC 📸📍Botany Bay Beach: charlestonshopcurator
Our kind of #MondayMotivation 😍 #DiscoverSC 📸📍Bluffton Oyster Company: daniymathews
Final adjustments made. #scducks #moistsoilmanagement #sclowcountry #ducksunlimited #deltawaterfowl #teal #woodducks #gadwall #lowcountry #goldenisles
It’s my last week in the Lowcountry. I will be incredibly happy to be back home, but I will sure miss these views. ☀️🌴[Image Description: a photo of a sun setting over the Lowcountry wetlands. The cloud in the sky are reflected on the water below.]
Need a project this weekend? Add a splash of color and touch of gardening to your porch decor. Don’t have a green thumb? Not to worry.⠀
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A new week means a fresh start full of new opportunities to explore! 💙​​​​​​​​
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Drawn Out, 40x30, acrylic on canvas, framed in white​​​​​​​​
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Just had a half blind lease become available last minute….text or call Joe Temples 912-230-3882 for more info….#moistsoilmanagement #scducks #ducksofinstagram #charleston #beaufortsc #savannah #goldenisles #lowcountry #sclowcountry
The seed has been planted…going to be a long couple of weeks….#scducks #ducks #duckhunting #moistsoil #moistsoilmanagement #redriderbbgun #sclowcountry #savannah #beaufort #charlestonsc #goldenisles #ducksunlimited

The South Carolina Lowcountry Guidebook is filled with many things to see and do in the beautiful Lowcountry of South Carolina. Please fill out the information and we will send you a FREE GUIDE BOOK.


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