Ground Cedar's Explosive Spores

    February 13, 2016

    Have you seen this creature blanketing the forest floor? Called Ground Cedar by some for its resemblance to Cedar trees, and also referred to as Ground Pine, Clubmoss, and Crowsfoot... this creature belongs to an ancient family of spore-producing vascular plants called Fern Allies. Fern Allies were the first vascular plants to dwell on land, and an extinct genus of the family, Wattieza, is regarded as the very first tree! There is so much to explore and learn about this grandparent of the forest. For one thing, Ground Cedar takes 20 YEARS to mature from spores and requires the presence of specific fungi in order to survive. More importantly though... its spores are COMBUSTIBLE! They will ignite in a quick flash if the spores are scattered through the air and lit... and fortunately they go out quickly in a flash as well - usually without burning anything else. (Check out a video of it here: https://youtu.be/TAdElO1FCSM) For this reason, Ground Cedar is commonly used for special effects, was employed in early flash photography, and even in combustion engines!

     

    But the plethora of uses for this plant don't stop there... In Europe and North America, dried and powdered Ground Cedar has been used to make medicinal tea to support women's menstruation... and also to stimulate sexual desire! The spores have been used to create a "reviving powder" and forced into people's noses. The boiled spores are also purported to kill lice and improve bad wine. It has also been used as a as a lubricant in surgical rubber gloves and other latex items, as a coating on pills to keep them from sticking together, as an ice cream stabilizer, and in fingerprint powder.

     

    If you come across this forest elder amidst your wanderings in the wild, I invite you to take a seat and have a listen. Ground Cedar has much to tell.

     

     

    For the wild in us all!

    Ann Delia

     

     

    For more on Ground Cedar, visit:

    http://www.borealforest.org/ferns/fern10.htm

    http://trekohio.com/2012/10/31/ground-cedar-and-its-combustible-spores/

     

    And for more on Fern Allies, check out:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fern_ally

     

     

     

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