Psilocybe mairei

Psilocybe mairei Singer (1973)

Psilocybe maire Singer sensu Guzmán
Hypholoma cyanescens Maire

Macroscopic feat.:
  • Cap/Pileus: 1,5-3,5 cm broad. Convex to campanulate to conic-campanulate, expanding with age, but not umbonate. Surface viscid when moist from a separable gelatinous pellicle. Orangish brown, becoming olive toned, hygrophanous, fading in drying to yellowish white. Flesh amber, bruising bluish where injured.
  • Gills/Lamellae: Attachment adnate, pallid at first, soon darkening, becoming purplish brown with the edges remaining whitish fringed.
  • Stem/Stipe: 25-75 mm long by 2-5 mm thick. Equal to slightly enlarged towards the base. Whitish to yellowish white, bruising bluish where injured. Surface pruinose above and finely fibrillose below.

Microscopic feat.:
  • Basidio/Spores: Dark purplish brown in deposit, elongate-ellipsoid, 10-12 (13.5) by 5.5-7 µm.
  • Basidia: 4-spored.
  • Pleurocistidia: Absent or near to gill edge.
  • Cheilocystidia: 30-40 by 6-8 µm. Variable in form: lageniform, fusiform, or ampullaceous.

Habitat: Known only from North Africa (Morocco and Algeria) in October through December. Grows gregariously on soil rich in woody debris, in forests mixed with pine (Pinus pinaster), fir (Abies pinsapo) and oak (Quercus ilicis and Quercus pyrenaica). The identification of collections from Europe as Psilocybe mairei are doubtful, and according to Guzmán' (1983) were probably Psilocybe serbica and allies.

Comment: Probably potent, judging by the bluing reaction, although no analyses have been published. This is the only wood-decomposing, bluing Psilocybe reported from North Africa. Prior to the expansion of the Sahara desert, North Africa enjoyed a moister climate and undoubtedly hosted many more mushrooms than are known today. One wonders if Psilocybe mairei is a surviving remnant of a species that was once much more common. I am reminded of the cave art representing a beelike shaman undergoing a mushroom experience from the Tassili plateau in Northern Algeria, and I'm struck by the fact that this is the only species of Psilocybe presently known in that area. Given that the Tassili plateau was running with rivers at the time the artist lived, the alluvial plains would have been perfect for supporting species like Psilocybe mairei. Could this have been the mushroom the artist used? See also Psilocybe cyanescens, Psilocybe serbica, and allies.

source - Paul Stamets "Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World"

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