Lycopodium clavatum,


The spores, with not more than 2 p. c. of impurities.

Habitat. Europe, Asia, N. America, in dry woods.

Syn. Lycopod., Club Moss, Clubfoot Moss, Running Moss, Snake (Staghorn) Moss, Ground (Running) Pine, Wolf's Claw, Fox Tail; Vegetable Sulphur (Brimstone), Semen Lycopodii; Fr. Lycopode, Soufre vegetal, Pied de Loup; Ger. Barlappsporen, Hexen-mehl, Streupulver, Blitzpulvre.

Ly-co-po'di-um. L. see etymology, above, of Lycopo-diaceae.

Cla-va'tum. L. clavatus, club-like - i. e., alluding to club-like appearance of the fertile spikes.

Plant. - Low creeping perennial; stem .6-3 M. (2-10°) long, slender, tough, flexible, woody; branches ascending, leafy, the fertile terminated by a slender peduncle 10-15 Cm. (4-6') long, with 1-2 linear, cylindrical spikes - thecae, cones, capsules, 2.5-5 Cm. (1-2'). long; leaves linear, awl-shaped, 6 Mm. (1/4') long, dense, light green, tipped, as are also the numerous bracts, on the flowering spikes with a fine bristle; in axils of bracts have the kidney-shaped sporangia containing the spores. Spores, a light yellow, very mobile powder,

Fig. 12.   Lycopodium clavatum: o, a fragment of stem with spore bearing spikes, f, f; a, leaf of stem; b, leaf of fertile branch; c, cone scale (bract) showing sporangium e; d, spores.

Fig. 12. - Lycopodium clavatum: o, a fragment of stem with spore-bearing spikes, f, f; a, leaf of stem; b, leaf of fertile branch; c, cone scale (bract) showing sporangium e; d, spores.

nearly inodorous and tasteless, not wetted by water, floats upon it, but sinks when boiled with it; when thrown into a flame burns with a quick flash; microscopically - spherical tetrahedro'ns, .025-04 Mm. (1/1000-1/165') broad, plano-convex, triangular, outer wall (exosporium) extended in slight, irregular projections, giving the surface a reticulated appearance, the reticulations being polygonal and formed of straight sides; when rounded surface downward, the upper surface is characterized by a distinct, triangular marking, being the edges of the three straight surfaces from the centre to near the outer edge; few if any pine pollen, .04-07 Mm. (1/625-1/360) broad, consisting of three parts, in which a central, convex, generative cell separates the two spherical cells or wings, that are blackish due to inclusion of air.

Fig. 13.   Lycopodium.

Fig. 13. - Lycopodium.

Adulterations. - 1, Pollen of many Pinaceae (Pinus sylvestris, P. palustris, etc.), less fine and mobile, and mixes more easily with water than lycopodium; 2, Talc, gypsum, ferruginous earth, sand, increasing the ash beyond 3-5 p. c, and quickly subsiding when shaken with carbon disulphide, chloroform, or water; 3, Starch, flour (sometimes 25 p. c), blue with iodine T. S., sinking in carbon disulphide; dextrin, soluble in water, when concentrated precipitated by alcohol; sulphur, dissolves in carbon disulphide, remaining upon evaporation; rosin, treat with alcohol, evaporate the tincture; turmeric, reddish-brown with alkalies.

Commercial. - Lycopodium comes chiefly from L. clavatum, but considerable from L. complana'tum, L. annot'inum, and L. inunda'tum, being obtained by cutting off the tops when fruit spikes (cones) are nearly ripe, shaking out spores from sporangia, and sifting; collected mostly, July-August, in Russia, Germany, Switzerland.

Constituents. - Fixed oil 47-49 p. c, cane-sugar 2 p. c, volatile base (methylamine), ash 3-5 p. c. (sand + 1 p. c. P2O5). The substance of the cell-wall is called pollenin; when treated with potassium hydroxide gives yellow color, becoming blue upon the addition of sulphuric acid and iodine. The oil, similar to expressed oil of almonds, contains palmitic, stearic, myristic, and oleic acids - the latter 80 p. c. being slightly abnormal.

Properties. - Once considered diuretic, antispasmodic for rheumatism, epilepsy, pulmonary and renal disorders, dysentery.

Uses. - Externally to protect tender and raw surfaces, erysipelas, eczema, herpes, ulcers, chafing in infants; in pharmacy as a basis for

Lycopodium Lycopodium 116Fig. 14.   Pollen of pine.

Fig. 14. - Pollen of pine.

insufflations, also to prevent adhering of pills, suppositories, etc. Popular "homeopathic medicine" (1 to 100 milk-sugar triturated till oil liberated); internally gives excited circulation, urinary irritation, often cures dyspepsia, flatulence, constipation, aneurism, diphtheria, mucous membrane affections of lungs and bronchi.