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 (Roth

et al. 1994, 407*).

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