High Quality Content by WIKIPEDIA articles! Claviceps purpurea is a fungus that grows on the ears of rye and related cereal and forage plants. Consumption of grains or seeds contaminated with the fruiting structure of this fungus, the ergot sclerotium, can cause ergotism in humans and other mammals. C. purpurea most commonly affects outcrossing species such as rye (its most common host), as well as triticale, wheat and barley. It affects oats only rarely.