The Major Psilocybin Genera
Psilocybin, the naturally occurring chemical in magic mushrooms, is exclusive to two major mushroom families. No other species of mushrooms outside these walls can produce it. They are are the Genus Coprinaceae, and the genus Psilocybe.
Of the genus Coprinaceae, most of the psilocybin producing species are in the family Panaeolus. Species of Panaeolus are known by the mottled or spotted appearance of their gills just prior to being fully mature. Many of the species in this genus grow in dung, while only a few Panaeoli are nocncoprophilic, preferring grassy or, rarely, woodland habitats The Panaeoli typically have hemispheric caps, relatively long stems, and produce black spore prints. To a certain extent there is a slight framentation of species branching out from the genus Panaeolus, including the Copelandia (tropical or semitripical Panaeloi that readily bruise bluish, and include the species bispora, cambodginiesnsis, cholorocystis, cyanescens, and tropicalis.
Several species within this fragmented genus of Panaeolus are consistent or latent producers of psilocybin and/or psilocin. Most of all produce urea, serotonin, and tryptophan, and/or their precursors and derivatives. None have proven to be poisonous.
From this genus, the main mushrooms of interest to the Shroom Liberation Front, due to their psilocybin/psilocin content are:
- Panaeolus camboginiesnsi (Copelandia cambodginiensis) = Potently active.
- Panaeolus cyanescens (Copelandia cyanescens) = Moderately Potent (a high producer of psilocybin/psilocin, although variable in content).
- Panaeolus tropicalis = Potently active.
The Genus Psilocybe.
Psilocybe mushrooms are strikingly similar to Hypholoma and Stropharia. These three genera are difficult to separate from one another when relying solely on macroscopic features. Psilocybe mushrooms are saprophytes and can be found in a wide range of habitats: dungs, mosses, soils, grasslands, or decaying wood debris. When moist, most species have viscid, deep-brown caps that fade in drying to yellowish brown in colour (ie hygrophanous). The more arctive species, particularly those high in psilocin, bruise bluish where injured. The gills are usually dark brown in colour with whitish edges, and range from being sudecurrent to acutely ascending in their attachments. To date the number of valid taxa approaches 180 species, with some authors proposing synonymise while others are further differentiating the genus into more taxa. At the current time, about 95 species are thought to be psilocybin active, with more being discovered each year. Taxonomic concepts are always in a state of flux and will continue to change as a new definition of the genus Psilocybe evolves. Many mycologists share the opinion that there should be one macrogenus, an expanded Psilocybe sensu lato, that would be all-inclusive of the species presently placed in Stropharia and Hypoloma. Of the main species of the genus, of most interest to the SLF are the following speices:
- Psilocybe argentipes = Moderately to highly active.
- Psilocybe aucklandii = Moderately potent.
- Psilocybe australiana = Moderatively active.
- Psilocybe aztecorum = Moderately to highly active (one of the two probable candidates for the teonanacatl that was reported by Sahagun in the sixteenth century).
- Psilocybe azurescens = Extremely potent (see here for more)
- Psilocybe baeocystis = Moderate to highly active.
- Psilocybe bohemica = Highly active - Potent
- Psilocybe caerulescens = Moderately to highly active. (A potent species, thirteen pairs of this mushroom were ingested by R.Gordon Wasson during his inaugral session with Maria Sabina, the renowned Mazatec healer. Along with Psilocybe aztecorum, this mushroom is the likely species referred to as the teonanacatl used by the Aztecs.
- Psilocybe caerulipes = Moderately active.
- Psilocybe cubensis = Moderately to potently active (see here for more)
- Psilocybe cyanescens = Moderately to highly active (see here for more)
- Psilocybe cyanofibrillosa = Weakly to moderatively active.
- Psilocybe eucalypta = Moderatively active.
- Psilocybe fimetaria = Moderately active.
- Psilocybe herrerae = Moderately active.
- Psilocybe hoogshagenii = Moderately to highly active.
- Psilocybe liniformans = Weakly to highly active.
- Psilocybe mairei = Estimated to be moderately active.
- Psilocybe mammillata - potency unkown, but shows strong bluing reaction. (Apparently this mushroom is widely distributed throughout much of Florida but goes unrecognised by most hunters of the more massive Psilocybe cubensis).
- Psilocybe mexicana = Moderately to highly active.
- Psilocybe muliericula = Potently active.
- Psilocybe natalensis = Moderately to highly active.
- Psilocybe pelliculosa = Weakly to moderately active.
- Psilocybe quebecensis = Moderately active.
- Psilocybe samuiensis = Moderately to highly active.
- Psilocybe semilanceata = Highly to extremely potent (see here for more)
- Psilocybe serbica = Moderately to highly active.
- Psilocybe silvatica = Weakly to moderately active.
- Psilocybe strictipes = Moderately to highly active to potent.
- Psilocybe stuntzii = Weakly to moderately active. (This species often grows in great numbers and was named in honour of Dr. Daniel Stuntz. Galerina autumnalis, a deadly mushroom, has the same overall appearance to P.stuntizii and would look identical if you were colour blind. The orangish brown cap and rusty brown spores are the major differences visible to the unaided eye).
- Psilocybe subaeruginascens = Moderately active.
- Psilocybe subaeruginosa = Moderately to highly active.
- Psilocybe subcaerulipes = Moderately to highly active.
- Psilocybe tampanensis = Moderately to highly active. It was first discovered by Stephen Pollock and Gary Lincoff outside of Tampa, Florida. During a tearfully boring taxonomic conference, and feeling socially unwelcome, Pollock and Lincoff left for a nearby mushroom hunt. Crossing a sand dune, they found a lone specimen of a mushroom that neither them recognised. Later that day, the specimen yielded purple-brown spores and bruised bluish. Pollock cloned the less-than-spectacular specimen, which soon gave rise to a pure culture - a culture that is in wide circulation today. Since then there have been no further sightings of wild P.tampanensis in Florida. This happenstance finding, and it's survival through cultivation, is typical of many of the rare Psilocybe discoveries.
- Psilocybe wassoniorum = Active, but potency unknown - (named to honour t he works of the Wassons).
- Psilocybe weilee = Moderately to highly potent. (The name honours Andrew Weil and his role in promoting the beneficial properties of mushrooms).
- Psilocybe yungensis = Probably moderately active.
- Psilocybe zapotecorum = Moderately to highly active. (This mushroom is held in high esteem by native Mazatecs and Zapotecs).