There are some legends associated with it.
For those speakers and storytellers coming to the south telling one of these stories will make you a hit!
Here are a couple versions. Enjoy and share them! (I shared the story on the History channels-Haunted History of Charleston)
A Spanish soldier fell in love at first sight with an Indian chief's favorite daughter. Though the
chieftain forbade the couple to see each other, the Spaniard was too lovestruck to stop meeting the
maiden in secret. The father found them out and ordered his braves to tie the Spaniard high up in
the top of an ancient oak tree.
The Spaniard had only to disavow his love to be freed, but he steadfastly refused. Guards were
posted to keep anyone -- the chief's daughter above all --from giving food or water to the
poor Spaniard. The Spaniard grew weaker and weaker, but he still would not renounce his
love for the girl.
Near the end, the Chief tried to persuade him once more to stay away from his daughter. The Spaniard
answered that not only would he refuse to disavow his love, but that his love would continue to grow
even after death. When at last the Spaniard died the chief kept the body tied up in the tree as a
warning to any other would-be suitors.
Before long, the Indians began to notice that the Spaniard's beard continued to grow. The Indian
maiden refused ever to take a husband -- unless the Spaniard's beard died and vanished from the
tree. As the years went by, the beard only grew stronger and longer, covering trees far from the
Indian maiden's village. Legend says that when the Spanish Moss is gone, the Spaniard's love will
have finally died with it.
Here's Another Version
There's an old, old legend, that's whispered by Southern folks, About the lacey Spanish Moss that garlands the great oaks. A lovely princess and her love, upon their wedding day, Were struck down by a savage foe amidst a
United in death they were buried, so the legend go "Neath an oak's strong, friendly arms, protected from their foe;
There, as was the custom, they cut the bride's long hair with love And hung its shining blackness on the spreading
oak above; Untouched, undisturbed it hung there, for all the world to see. And with the years the locks turned grey and spread from tree to tree.