Other names: Cockspur, Purple rooster mushroom
Latin name: Claviceps purpurea
mushroom family: Clavicipitaceae
Number of species: more than 300 species
circulation area: worldwide
contained poisons: Ergotamine, ergometrine
Locations: mostly in rye ears
Appearance: peg-shaped, dark brown / black color
GrцЯe: about 1-2cm long
use: no use possible
All information is for educational purposes only and is not suitable for identifying edible mushrooms / toadstools. Eat or Never use found mushrooms without appropriate expertise! Depending on the mushroom, only a few grams can be fatal.
Interesting about ergot
As ergot The so-called sclerotium of purple-brown ergot or Claviceps purpurea is called. This parasitic ascomycete is native to almost all temperate climates in the world, and predominantly infests rye ears during the long flowering period in May and June, when its spores are carried on by insects. Instead of a fertilization of the rye ear it comes to an infection with the ergot fungus, which forms after the colonization dark brown horn-shaped, like cones-looking sclerotia, sit on which filled with spores fruiting bodies. In addition to rye, the ergot fungus can infest other grasses, which ensures its survival after harvesting, until another rye infestation occurs in the next season.
The alkaloids ergotamine and ergometrine contained in ergot are highly toxic to humans and caused epidemics of ergotism until the early 18th century, when thousands of people died before the first measures were taken and research gradually became a comprehensive knowledge of the ergot toxins contributed. While from antiquity almost no cases of ergot poisoning are known, as mainly wheat was cultivated, the poisoning in the Middle Ages was known as "Antonius fire". A dose of five to ten grams may be fatal for an adult, while small amounts are barely noticeable. In severe poisoning leads to circulatory disorders of the organs and limbs. If left untreated, your fingers and toes die with severe pain. Eventually, death occurs due to cardiac or respiratory arrest.
By careful selection of rye grains and resistant rye varieties, ergot poisoning is extremely rare today. The alkaloids, however, are used in obstetrics as a means of labor and hemostatic substance after the birth process.
An alkaloid also contained in the ergot, the lysergic acid was synthesized in 1938 by the Swiss-born chemist Albert Hofmann and referred to as Lysergsdurediethylamid, short LSD. This substance was used in psychiatry in the 1960s as an antipsychotic drug and is still a widely used hallucinogenic drug.