Claviceps purpurea

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The resistant, overwintering stage of the parasitic ascomycetous fungus Claviceps purpurea, a pathogen of cereal rye that transforms the seed of rye into a compact spurlike mass of fungal pseudotissue (the sclerotium) containing five or more optically isomeric pairs of alkaloids. The levorotary isomers induce uterine contractions, control bleeding, and alleviate certain localized vascular disorders (migraine headaches).
See also: ergotism.
Synonym(s): rye smut
[O. Fr. argot, cock's spur]


Herbal medicine
A fungus that infects rye, which is the primary source for ergonovine and ergotamine; its use in herbal medicine is confined to haemostasis and strengthening uterine contractions during childbirth.

Claviceps purpurea,

n See ergot.


the ergot fungi, members of the Ascomycetes class. Parasites of seedheads of various plants.

Claviceps cinerea
this ergot causes the same poisoning syndrome as paspalum ergot. See paspalum ergot.
Claviceps fusiformis
this ergot grows on bulrush millet (Pennisetum typhoides) and causes agalactia in sows fed on it. Called also millet ergot.
Claviceps paspali
Claviceps purpurea
the cause of rye ergot, but also the common ergot capable of infecting most grass species.