Commercial uses

Lycopodium clavatum

Lycopodium clavatum © P. Kenrick

Lycopodium Powder

The minute spores of Lycopodium clavatum and closely related species are harvested from the cones and sold as Lycopodium Powder. 

The spores are flammable due to the high proportion of oil that they contain forming an explosive mixture with air. The oil also makes them resistant to wetting and gives them emollient properties.

Lycopodium Powder has a wide range of uses:

  • as an explosive mixture with air to spectacular effect in the film and entertainment industries.
  • as a fine dusting on condoms and surgical gloves to lubricate the latex.
  • as powder in cosmetics
  • as pill coating in the pharmaceutical industry
  • as a dry parting compound in foundry work to prevent metal from sticking to wooden molds
  • the spores are also used in homeopathic medicine to treat a variety of ailments

Exposure to Lycopodium spores may cause allergic reactions ranging from mild dermatitis to severe asthma.