Psilocybe subaeruginosa

Psilocybe subaeruginosa Cleland


synonyms:
Psilocybe australiana Guzmán & Watling (1978)
Psilocybe tasmaniana Guzmán & Watling (1978)
Psilocybe eucalypta Guzmán & Watling

Macroscopic feat.:
  • Cap/Pileus: 1.5 cm broad. Conic to convex at first, soon expanding to broadly convex with a small umbo. Surface smooth, translucent-striate along the margin, pale brown to dark brown, hygrophanous, fading in drying to pallid brown to dingy grayish white.
  • Gills/Lamellae: Attachment adnate to adnexed, and with age may separate from the stem, leaving parallel, longitudinal gill fragments on the upper reaches. Soon smoky brown to purplish brown to dark purplish chocolate brown, edges concolorous.
  • Stem/Stipe: 50-125 mm long by 2-5 mm thick. Equal to narrowing towards the apex to slightly swollen at the base, from which white mycelium radiates. Hollow, cartilaginous, surface adorned with fine fibrils, finely striate and mealy towards the apex. Surface whitish, silky, with grayish brown streaks, flesh brownish, bruising bluish where injured. Partial veil white, finely cortinate, soon disappearing and leaving fragile traces in the upper regions of the stem.

Microscopic feat.:
  • Basidio/Spores: Purplish brown in deposit, subellipsoid in both side and face view, 13-15 by 6.6-7.7 µm.
  • Basidia: 4-spored, infrequently 2-spored.
  • Pleurocistidia: 22-47 by 6-16.5 µm, fusoid-ventricose, mucronate with an elongated neck 2-4.5 µm. thick.
  • Cheilocystidia: Similar in form to pleurocystidia, 17-29 by 5.5-11 µm.

Habitat: Solitary to gregarious in complex habitats such as soils rich in woody debris, decaying piles of leaves and twigs, sandy woody soils, gardens, and amongst bark chips from pine (Pinus radiata). Found from May through August. Known only from Australia and Tasmania.

Comment: Moderately to potently active, judging by the bruising reaction. No analyses are known to me. This species is in the center of a constellation of close relatives, including Psilocybe australiana, Psilocybe eucalypta, and Psilocybe tasmaniana. A study by Chang and Mills (1992) sought to show synonymy between these taxa but, upon close reading of their work, some doubt remains if they had the true Psilocybe subaeruginosa and were making valid comparisons. Psilocybe subaeruginosa has pigmented pleurocystidia and is described as "chocolate brown", features Chang and Mills admit to not finding in any of the collections they studied. The chocolate brown cystidia of Psilocybe subaeruginosa differentiates this taxon from the mushrooms mentioned above, all of which have hyaline cystidia (Guzmán, Bandala, and King 1993). Hence, I think sufficient doubt is cast on their arguments for conspecificity. Better studies are needed.

source - Paul Stamets "Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World"

Pictures at www.mushroomobserver.org

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