Ergot (secale cornutum)

Sac fungus; length: 120 cm

Sac fungus; length: 120 cm

Instead of normal grain, brownish sac fungi may form between the husks of the rye when exposed to damp and heat. These contaminants occasionally caused mass poisoning in bygone ages. People lived in fear of the epidemics of itchiness and convulsions. Ergotism, known as St Anthony's fire, leads to severe constriction of the blood vessels [...]

Since the 19th century, careful selection of seed grain has seen a sharp decline in the infestation of rye fields with ergot. But ergot also has a beneficial property. It has been known for centuries to induce labour. Initially used in secret, it was discovered by the medical world later on. Ergot is now cultivated to extract certain alkaloids.

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Text: A. R.

The exhibit refers to:

Mecklenburg until 1945

Look here for the original exhibit:

Burg Penzlin. Museum für Alltagsmagie und Hexenverfolgung in Mecklenburg

Burg Penzlin. Museum für Alltagsmagie und Hexenverfolgung in Mecklenburg

17217 Penzlin

Telefon +49 3962 210 494
Fax +49 3962 210 135
alte.burg@penzlin.de

www.alte-burg.amt-penzliner-land.de