Friday, December 9, 2011

Foraged: Club Moss

Club moss (Lycopodiopsida) is very structurally similar to the earliest forms of plant life (primitive vascular plants); when I look at it, I like to pretend I'm roaming the same woods as the dinosaurs, only picture GIANT club mosses that grew hundreds of feet tall. Modern-day club moss hugs the ground but can produce a stem up to four feet tall. Despite its name, it is not an actual moss. Wikipedia alleges that "a powder known simply as lycopodium, consisting of dried spores of the common clubmoss, was used in Victorian theater to produce flame-effects. A blown cloud of spores burned rapidly and brightly, but with little heat. It was considered safe by the standards of the time." The spore also formed the basis of the flash powder in the earliest days of photography. Club moss spores were once used as a baby powder and even as an absorbent dusting powder in the early days of surgery... and it has a whole host of homeopathic uses that stem back hundreds of years. It also known as Clubfoot Moss, Common Club Moss,  Foxtail, Ground Pine, Lycopodium, Running Club Moss, Staghorn, Vegetable Sulphur and Wolf's Claw. I'm loving the name Wolf's Claw - picturing Club moss as its claws makes me think of a really creepy long and jagged-clawed mossy green monster.

1 comment:

  1. i like clubmoss, too.