Psilocybe strictipes

Psilocybe strictipes Singer & A.H.Smith


synonyms:
Psilocybe strictipes Singer and Smith
Psilocybe callosa (Fries ex Fries) Quelet sensu auct., sensu Guzmán (1983)
Psilocybe semilanceata var. obtusa Bon
Psilocybe semilanceata var. microspora Singer

Macroscopic feat.:
  • Cap/Pileus: 0,5-3 cm broad, conic at first, expanding to convex, campanulate, and eventually broadly convex, and typically not sharply umbonate but may have a low umbo. Surface smooth, translucent-striate near the margin, which may have slight remnants of the veil and viscid when moist from a separable gelatinous pellicle. Dark grayish brown to cinnamon brown, fading to straw or light yellow in drying. Flesh sometimes bruising bluish when injured.
  • Gills/Lamellae: Attachment adnate, sometimes subdecurrent, and tearing free from the stem in drying. Chocolate brown with whitish edges when mature.
  • Stem/Stipe: 40-70 (130) mm long by 2-3 mm thick. White to yellow to yellowish brown. Equal, straight to flexuous, typically tough, cartilaginous, and decorated with fibrillose patches, veil remnants, and basal mycelium that can bruise bluish. (Base is not adorned with cordlike rhizomorphs.) Partial veil thinly cortinate, fragile, and rarely leaving an annular zone on the upper regions of the stem.

Microscopic feat.:
  • Basidio/Spores: Spores dark purple brown in deposit, subellipsoid to suboblong 10-12 by 5.5-8 µm.
  • Basidia: 4-spored.
  • Pleurocistidia: Absent.
  • Cheilocystidia: 21-45 by 7-10 µm, lageniform with an extended neck 2-3.5 µm thick.

Habitat: Fruits in the late summer to fall in the Pacific Northwest, England, northern and central Europe (Czech Republic, France, Germany, Holland, Slovakia, Sweden), Siberia and Chile. Typically found in rich, grassy areas such as lawns, along roadsides, and in fields - but not on dung, although common in fields with and without manure.

Comment: Chemical analysis not available. Estimated to be moderately active to potent, judging from personal bioassays, and probably low in psilocin, because of the limited bluing reaction. Psilocybe strictipes is a slender, grassland species, thought to be an intermediate form, bridging Psilocybe semilanceata and Psilocybe pelliculosa, two taxa that are very similar in general appearance except for habitat preferences and/or microscopic details. Psilocybe strictipes has had a very confused history. Guzmán (1995), following Redhead (1985) and Watling and Gregory (1987), attempted to clear up the long-standing confusion surrounding this species and its well-known synonym, Psilocybe callosa. (The original Agaricus callosus Fr. is not related to the mushroom described here and is actually synonymous with Panaeolus papilionaceus Bull. ex: Fr. Quelet.).
The modern concept of Psilocybe callosa became subordinate to a new taxon, which Singer and Smith (1958a) originally proposed as Psilocybe strictipes. Guzmán (1983) had made Psilocybe strictipes subordinate to Psilocybe callosa in his monograph. Upon reevaluation, Guzmán (1995) reaffirmed Psilocybe strictipes as the proper name. Mixed collections resulted in this species being further confused with Psilocybe baeocystis, to which it bears little resemblance. Furthermore, the preferred habitat for Psilocybe strictipes is grasslands or rich soils, not the woodlands that Singer and Smith (1958a) had described. Their line drawings of Psilocybe strictipes show two distinct forms: one mycenoid resembling the closely related Psilocybe semilanceata, and an isolated drawing, more collyboid in shape, showing a mushroom atypical to the first form. Guzmán (1983) writes that the specimen used by Smith to make the line drawing was actually Psilocybe baeocystis. Additionally, in their original description they indicate that the collection number assigned to the original type was erroneous, which perhaps related to the original confusion and the two decades of confusion that followed. Virtually all the field guides published since 1958, including mine (1978), erroneously describe Psilocybe strictipes.
For most field hunters, the grassland habitat narrows the field of candidate possibilities. The absence of sharp umbo and its thinly fleshed cap are two macroscopic features that delineate this species from its closest ally, Psilocybe semilanceata, with which it is often confused. Guzmán (1983, 17) noted that, "the form of the pileus is of taxonomic value in Psilocybe. Psilocybe semilanceata is distinguished from Psilocybe callosa (=Psilocybe strictipes) on the papilla in the first and in the convex to the more or less subumbonate pileus in the latter."
With many grassland species, the length of the stem is usually a direct response to the height of the grass through which its arises. The stem base is typically tightly attached to dead, thatched grass. Microscopically, Psilocybe strictipes has smaller and narrower spores than Psilocybe semilanceata. The name strictipes refers to the tough or hardened texture of the stem, especially the base, in drying.
A variety Psilocybe strictipes abundantly in western Oregon in close association with highland bentgrass (Agrostis tenuis) where thousands of acres are dedicated to the commercial cultivation of grass seed - a major industry in that region. The prolific fruitings of Psilocybe strictipes in these grasslands and the subsequent distribution of spore-dusted seeds represents a huge launching platform of germ plasm to faraway lawns, golf courses, and institutions of higher learning. The potential distribution of this species through the commercial distribution of lawn seed is mind-boggling. Psilocybe strictipes is likely to be much more common than presently realized.

source - Paul Stamets "Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World"

Pictures at www.mushroomobserver.org

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