I'm going to Austin for Christmas, this stuff is everywhere and I'm going to bring back some to put in terrariums or just in glassware. Assuming the air lines don't take it away (my transporting it is perfectly legal but they might not know that) I'd be happy to grab some for other forumites, so chime in if you'd like some.
If memory serves me correctly, that is actually a fungus. You're right, in parts of the country it will cover a tree in no time-- other parts, people have never seen them.
This is the "air plant" I don't remember it's proper care, but when I was young I harvested a lot, bought some small pots and made a fortune on a family trip out of state.
Sorry, no, it's a flowering plant, not a fungus. They like humidity, indirect sun, which is still pretty high light and I've read they like air movement, which can be a pain in a cage if you want to keep up the humidity, but I'll have enough to experiment with.
Oh, wow! Those look really interesting. I'd like to give one to my mom, as she's really into plants. May I? I'll have to figure out a good setup for it. Perhaps perched on driftwood in a large clear container, watered a couple times a week from the fish tank ...