This area was once known as the Hog Lot, which provided green pastures for grazing horses and pigs alike, and was added to Jungle Gardens in the 1930s. The Live Oaks here were planted from 1860 through the 1920s. Natural groves of Live Oaks, which occur along the Louisiana coast, are known as chenieres, derived from the French word “chêne,” meaning oak. Unlike most New World oaks, Live oaks are evergreen, resulting in the Cajun moniker, chene vert (“green oak”). The wood of the Live Oak is so dense and heavy that it sinks in water -- rendering it very useful for the beams and other below-deck structures in wooden sailing ships.
Spanish moss and resurrection fern are epiphytic plants. They typically attach themselves to the massive branches of the Live Oaks, deriving their nutrients from the dust particles in the air and from the water that collects within the bark furrows the host branches. The resurrection fern is so named because it can survive prolonged periods of dry weather, when it becomes brown and withered looking. But even a light rain will revive the fern, “resurrecting” its bright green color. Spanish moss is not a moss at all, but actually an advanced, seed-producing species within the plant family Bromeliaceae – the Pineapple Family. Historically, Spanish moss was a major stuffing material in the fledgling U.S. upholstery industry, and moss harvesting played a substantial economic role throughout southern Louisiana.