It doesn't put down roots in the tree it grows on, nor does it take nutrients from it. The plant thrives on rain and fog, sunlight, and airborne or waterborne dust and debris. The plant’s tissues can hold more water than the plant needs, to keep it going through dry periods. When the tissues plump up after a rain, Spanish moss appears more green. As the water is used, it returns to a gray hue.
Spanish moss provides a great nesting and breeding location for insects and small animals. Bats rest in its strands during the day. Certain butterflies settle in it at night. Birds use it as nest-building material. Frogs, lizards and snakes find it a source of both food and protection.
If you plan to make use of Spanish Moss (fertilizer, decorating, mulch), be careful.