Psilocybe azurescens is a recently described hallucinogenic mushroom that is reportedly the most potent psilocybin mushroom known (Stamets 1996; Paul Stamets, in litt. 2011). Recent scientific investigations into controlled clinical uses for psilocybin have shown promise for both psychiatric applications (e.g., Grob et al. 2011) and in probing the psychology and neuropharmacology of mystical experiences (e.g., Griffiths et al. 2008). For a broad review of Psilocybe mushrooms, see Stamets (1996); for a briefer introduction (that includes more recent literature references), see Beug (2011).
Psilocybe azurescens is a recently described hallucinogenic mushroom that is reportedly the most potent psilocybin mushroom known (Paul Stamets, in litt. 2011). Recent scientific investigations into controlled clinical uses for psilocybin have shown promise for both psychiatric applications (e.g., Grob et al. 2011) and in probing the psychology and neuropharmacology of mystical experiences (e.g., Griffiths et al. 2008).
|gills on hymenium|
cap is convexor umbonate
hymenium is adnateor sinuate
|stipe is bare|
spore print is blackish-brownto purple
|ecology is saprotrophic|
Psilocybe azurescens is a psychedelic mushroom whose main active compounds are psilocybin and psilocin. It is among the most potent of the tryptamine-bearing mushrooms, containing up to 1.8% psilocybin, 0.5% psilocin, and 0.4% baeocystin by dry weight, averaging to about 1.1% psilocybin and 0.15% psilocin, makes it one of the strongest mushrooms in psilocybe genus. It belongs to the family Strophariaceae in the order Agaricales. In one study Psilocybe subaeruginosa (Cleland) collected in Victoria, Australia had up to 1.93% PSOP. Perkal 1981, which would indicate that Psilocybe subaeruginosa could be even more potent than its close cousin depending on where it is collected and the strain.
The cap (pileus) of Psilocybe azurescens is 30–100 mm in diameter, conic to convex, expanding to broadly convex and eventually flattening with age with a pronounced, persistent broad umbo; surface smooth, viscous when moist, covered by a separable gelatinous pellicle; chestnut to ochraceous brown to caramel in color often becoming pitted with dark blue or bluish black zones, hygrophanous, fading to light straw color in drying, strongly bruising blue when damaged; margin even, sometimes irregular and eroded at maturity, slightly incurved at first, soon decurved, flattening with maturity, translucent striate and often leaving a fibrillose annular zone in the upper regions of the stipe. Lamellae ascending, sinuate to adnate, brown, often stained into-black where injured, close, with two tiers of lamellulae, mottled, edges whitish. Spore-print dark purplish brown to purplish black in mass. Stipe 90–200 mm long by 3–6 mm thick, silky white, dingy brown from the base or in age, hollow at maturity. Composed of twisted, cartilaginous tissue. Base of stipe thickening downwards, often curved, and characterized by coarse white aerial tufts of mycelium, often with azure tones. Mycelium surrounding stipe base densely rhizomorphic (i.e., root-like), silky white, tenaciously holding the wood-chips together, strongly bruising bluish upon disturbance. They have no odor to slightly farinaceous. Their taste is extremely bitter.
Habitat and distribution
The habit ranges from caespitose (growing in tight, separated clusters) to gregarious on deciduous wood-chips and/or in sandy soils rich in lignicolous (woody) debris. The mushroom has an affinity for coastal dune grasses. In aspect it generates an extensive, dense and tenacious mycelial mat (collyboid); Psilocybe azurescens causes the whitening of wood. Fruitings begin in late September and continue until "late December and early January," according to the mycologist Paul Stamets.
This species occurs naturally in coastal dune grasses only along a small area of the West Coast of the United States. It has been regularly found as far south as Depoe Bay, Oregon, and as far north as Grays Harbor County, Washington. Its primary locations are clustered around the Columbia River Delta: the first type collections were made in Hammond, Oregon, near Astoria. It is also quite prevalent north of the Columbia River in Washington, from Long Beach north to Westport. Some feral specimens have also been reported in Stuttgart, Germany. While infrequent, they can sometimes be found around decaying wood in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Cape Disappointment State Park, near Ilwaco, Washington, has a large population, but harvesting is a potential felony that is enforced by local law enforcement agencies.
Possession and/or cultivation of this species is illegal in a number of countries including the United States, and it is considered a Class A Drug in New Zealand.
|Name||Psilocybin [% of weight]||Psilocin [% of weight]||Baeocystin [% of weight]||Total [% of weight]|
- Paul Stamets, A Comparison of Combined Maxima of Psilocybin, Psilocin and Baeocystin in Eleven Species of Psilocybe Fungi Perfect
- Stamets, Paul (1996). Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press. ISBN 0-9610798-0-0. p. 95.
- A Worldwide Geographic Distribution of the Neurotropic Fungi
- Approximate Alkaloid Content of selected Psilocybe mushrooms, Erowid.org, retrieved 2012-10-08
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