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Lycopodium selago 1., Urostachys selago (1.)
This club moss (cf. Lycopodium clavatum, Lycopodium
spp.), which is found in circumpolar and
Antarctic regions and is also known as fir club
moss, heckenysop, devil's clover, and selago, is an
ancient Celtic-Germanic magical plant that was
highly esteemed among the Druids:
It was gathered with great care, no iron
instrument was allowed to touch it, even bare
hands were unworthy of this honor. A special
covering, or "sagus;' was used with the right
hand. This covering had to be consecrated and
secretly received from a holy personage with
the left hand. It could be collected only by a
white-clad druid with bare feet that had been
washed in clear water. Before he collected this
plant, he had to make an offering of bread and
wine; after this, the plant was carried away
from the place in which it grew in a new, clean
cloth. In the ((Kadir Taliesin;' selago is referred
to as ((the gift of god," and in modern Welsh as the ((gras duw;' or the ((grace of god." This
plant was viewed primarily as an amulet that
protected its possessor against all harm.
(Schopf 1986, 58*)
The herbage contains 0.1 to 0.9% total alkaloids,
which have been characterized as ((selagine"
and comprise lycopodines, arifoline, pseudoselagine
(= isolycodoline), selagine, and lycodoline.
The entire plant can induce vomiting, dizziness,
wooziness, and unconsciousness in humans (Rothet al. 1994, 407*).