Saturday, 10 November 2007

Club Moss

Club Moss is common on the forest floor at my cabin in Lapland.

After the first frosts of the autumn, the moss produces clusters of yellow spores which you can see above. These spore clusters are collected and after being left near the fire overnight, they open and release large amounts of spores.

When the spore powder is poured onto a naked flame, they produce a very explosive effect as you can see here......

In the past these spores were used my magicians as part of their act when on stage.

More information about Club Moss and it's uses can be found here

8 comments:

torjusgaaren said...

Cool, I had heard about that with the spores, but never tested it. I'll definitely have to try!

In earlier times they also dried these and scrubbed kettles with them.

Fenlander said...

It's amazing stuff mate. It's also good for waterproofing the skin. If you cover your finger with the spores and submerge it in water, when you remove it it will be completely dry!

torjusgaaren said...

Great!

Why does that happen? It clogs up the pores?

Fenlander said...

BorealForest.Org says this....
Club-moss spores have been used as a dusting powder in surgery, as baby powder and to treat various skin problems, including eczema and chaffed skin. The spores repeal water so strongly that a hand dusted with them can be dipped into water without becoming wet. However, their use as an anti-absorbent is limited as they are know to irritate mucous membranes. The Carrier used to put club-moss spores to divine the future of the sick people. The spores were dropped into a container of water and if they moved towards the sun, the patient would survive. Club-moss spores are very rich in oil, and they are highly flammable. At one time they were used by photographers and theatre performers as flash powder, giving the effect of lightning on the stage. Because they ignite explosively, club-moss spores were called 'witch's flour'.

Mungo said...

Hello,

I just came across your blog today - fascinating!

I only just learned about the 'magicians' use of Club Moss last week while on a course taught by Mors Kochanski - very interesting. I will keep dropping by to read your blog!

Cheers,

Mungo

Fenlander said...

Hello Mungo,

It was Mors who demonstrated it to me when I was working with him in British Columbia earlier this year.

Brix said...

Very interesting :)
Can they be used to prepare some kind of rudimental explosive?

Fenlander said...

Cattail/Reed Mace pollen was used in the production of fireworks.