Identification: Psilocybe cyanescens


Common Names: cyans, blue halos, wavy capped Psilocybe.

Cap: 2-4 cm broad. Obtusely conic to conic-convex at first, usually soon expanding to broadly convex to nearly plane in age with an undulating or wavy margin. Margin translucent-striate. Chestnut brown in young specimens, becoming more caramel coloured with age, hygrophanous, fading to dark yellowish brown or ochraceous in drying. Surface smooth and viscid when moist from a sometimes separable gelatinous pellicle. Context nearly concolourous with cap and bruising bluish.

Gills: Attachment adnate to subdecurrent, close to subdistant, broad. Colour is cinnamon brown, becoming deep smoky brown with the edges remaining paler.

Stem: 20-80 mm long by 2.5-5 mm thick. Often curved and somewhat enlarged at the base, stiff but not pliant. Whitish overall, readily bruising bluish. Surface silky, covered with fine fibrils and often with long whitish rhizomorphs protruding about base of stem. Partial veil copiously cortinate, snow-white, rapidly deteriorating to an obscure annular zone, if at all.

Habit, habitat and distribution: Scattered to gregarious in humus enriched with woody debris, amongst leaves and twigs, in wood chips, sawdust, or in debris fields rich with rotting wood. Often under mixed woods at the edges of lawns, along paths, and in heavily mulched rhododendron and rose gardens. Found in the fall to early winter in the Pacific Northwest. Reported from the western coastal regions between San Francisco, California, to southern Alaska, and also widely spread throughout the United Kingdom and across much of temperate Europe, from Italy, Germany, Spain, and Sweden.

Comments: Moderately to highly potent. Beug and Bigwood (1982) reported maxima of 1.68% psilocybin and .28% psilocin. The wavy cap margin, the colour of the cap, and the copious nature of the partial veil distinguish this species. This species loves wood chip trails that meander through gardenlike settings bordered by rhododendrons and shade-providing shrubs. P.cyanescens grows well with lupines, azaleas, and other bushes associated with the coastal, temperate planes.

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