Psilocybe pelliculosa

Psilocybe pelliculosa (A.H.Sm.) Singer & A.H.Sm. (1958)


synonyms:
Psathyra pelliculosa A.H.Sm. (1937)

Macroscopic feat.:
  • Cap/Pileus: 0.5-2 (3) cm broad. Obtusely conic, becoming conic-campanulate with age. Margin translucent-striate and generally not incurved in young specimens. Chestnut brown when moist, then dark dingy yellow to pale yellow in drying (hygrophanous), often with a pallid band along the margin, and frequently tinged olive green in patches. Surface smooth, viscid when moist from a separable gelatinous pellicle. Flesh thin, pliant, and more or less concolorous with the cap.
  • Gills/Lamellae: Attachment adnate to adnexed, finally seceding, close, narrow to moderately broad. Color dull cinnamon brown, darkening with spores in age.
  • Stem/Stipe: 60-80 mm long by 1-2.5 mm thick. Equal above, and slightly enlarged at the base. Surface is covered with appressed grayish fibrils, and powdered at the apex. Whitish to pallid to grayish more brownish toward the base, blue green where bruised or with age. Flesh stuffed with a tough pith. Partial veil thin to obscure or absent.

Microscopic feat.:
  • Basidio/Spores: Spores purplish brown in deposit, subellipsoid to subovoid, 9-13 by 5-7 µm.
  • Basidia: 4-spored.
  • Pleurocistidia: Absent.
  • Cheilocystidia: 17-36 by 4-7.5 µm, fusiform to lace-shaped, with an elongated neck 1.5-2 µm thick.

Habitat: Scattered to gregarious to cespitose on well-decayed conifer substratum, in mulch, or in soil rich in lignin. Often seen along paths in conifer forests and along abandoned logging roads that are actively being recaptured by alders and firs. Found in mid-to-late fall to early winter throughout the Pacific Northwest and Northern California.

Comment: Active, although comparatively weak, containing up to 0.41% psilocybin, no psilocin, and 0.04% baeocystin, as reported by Beug and Bigwood (1982b) and Repke et al. (1977). Psilocybe pelliculosa is nearly identical with Psilocybe silvatica, and is distinguished from it by the length of the spores. The conic-shaped cap, the gregarious nature of their fruitings, the fibrillose patches on the stem, and the bluing reaction at the base of the stem are some of the most distinctive features of this species. See also Psilocybe silvatica and Psilocybe washingtonensis. This mushroom has a general resemblance, especially at a distance, to Hypholoma dispersum (=Naematoloma dispersum). When my kids were toddlers, I would take them mushroom hunting in the Olympic Peninsula. On one November trip, after parking the car, we strolled up an abandoned logging road. Coming down the road were two pot (edible mushroom) hunters. When I asked if there were any good mushrooms up there, they replied, "There's nothing of interest." Less than fifty yards later, we found several thousand Psilocybe pelliculosa. The patch looked like a well-organized army of mushrooms, standing tall and proud. The pot hunters had walked right through the multitudes, unaware of the potential for a life-changing experience.

source - Paul Stamets "Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World"

Pictures at www.mushroomobserver.org

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