Lycopodium clavatum 1. and other club mosses
indigenous to Europe (Lycopodium spp.; cf. also
Huperzia selago) are known by a variety of
common names, including Druid's foot herb,
Druid's foot, Druid's plant, Druid's flour, Druid's
foot flour, witches' plant, witches' flour, witches'
flour plant, witches' dust, snake moss, devil's claw,
devil's claw flour, devil's rubbish, and disquiet. The
spores are known as witches' flour, Druid's flour,
lightning powder, dusting powder, and moss
powder. These names suggest an ancient use in
pagan rituals and strong associations with witchcraft.
One German name, biiriapp, means "uterine
ointment" (Beckmann and Beckmann 1990, 196*).
Lycopodium clavatum and similar species
(L. cernuum 1., 1. hamiltonii Spreng., 1. serratum
Thunb., 1. subulifolium Wall. ex Hook. et Grev.)
are found also in Nepal. There, the club moss is
sacred to the Hindu god Vishnu and is used in
garlands and other objects at his festivals.
Club moss (Lycopodium clavatum 1.) contains
a toxic or psychoactively effective alkaloid
complex that is generally referred to as "c1avatine" which even includes nicotine (Roth et al. 1994,