POISONOUS AND HALLUCINOGENIC MUSHROOMS
by Michael W. Beug Email: email@example.com
The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA
Claviceps purpurea, or Ergot, can be deadly poisonous.
This slide shows the sclerotium, or resting stage of Claviceps purpurea
growing on rye grain. Poisoning can occur if the sclerotia are harvested
with the grain, are not removed in the cleaning stage, and then are ground
into flour. Claviceps purpurea causes a gangrenous condition of
the extremities as well as madness. It was used into the early 20th
century to hasten childbirth because it causes contractions of the muscles
of the uterus. A number of alkaloids can be isolated from Ergot and studies
of them led to the discovery of histamine, ergosterol and the synthesis
of LSD, a potent hallucinogen.