Psilocybe venenata

Psilocybe venenata (Imai) Imazecki
Psilocybe fasciata Hongo

Macroscopic feat.:
  • Cap/Pileus: 1-6 cm broad. Initially conic, soon convex to subumbonate to nearly plane in age, often depressed in the center with slightly upturned margins. Chestnut to cinnamon brown to olive brown, then pinkish buff to light blonde brown in drying, often grayish green, rarely whitish, readily bruising bluish where injured. Surface smooth, viscid when moist, translucent-striate near the margin, which is often adorned with minute fibrillose veil remnants, especially when young.
  • Gills/Lamellae: Attachment adnate to adnexed, whitish at first, soon light grayish to dingy yellowish, and eventually purplish brown to grayish violet brown with spore maturity. Edges pallid to whitish fringed.
  • Stem/Stipe: 40-90 mm long by 2-6 (9) mm thick, equal to uneven, fibrous, silky white, enlarged near the base from thick white rhizomorphs radiate. Partial veil thickly cortinate to nearly floccose, leaving a fragile fibrillose annulus or annular zone in the superior regions of the stem, soon disappearing or dusted with purplish brown spores. Flesh whitish, bruising azure blue where bruised.

Microscopic feat.:
  • Basidio/Spores: Dark purplish brown in deposit, subellipsoid, (8) 9.9-12 (14) by 5.5-7 (8.8) µm.
  • Basidia: 4-spored.
  • Pleurocistidia: Absent.
  • Cheilocystidia: 17-30 (36) by 4.4-7.5 µm, fusoid-ventricose to lageniform with an extended and flexuous neck, 1-2.5 µm thick.

Habitat: Gregarious to cespitose in the summer and autumn in disturbed habitats, in soils rich with lignicolous debris, and in deciduous or bamboo forests. Also found in composting soils rich with mixtures of rice hulls, straw or manure. Sometimes grows in lawns, along roadsides, or along interfaces in Japanese gardens. Reported only from Japan, but I suspect that this species is probably more widely distributed.

Comment: Probably potent, although no analyses are known to me. Psilocybe venenata is a misnomer, as no deaths have actually occurred (despite erroneous reports) (Ott 1993). The symptoms produced are typical of other potent psilocybin species. For most collectors, the lighter color, strong bluing reaction, cespitose habit, and locality narrow the field of candidates to this species. Given its preference for habitats, this species is likely to be cultivated outdoors amongst bamboo or in gardenlike settings in a similar fashion to Psilocybe cyanescens and Psilocybe azurescens. See also Psilocybe argentipes and Psilocybe subcaerulipes.

source - Paul Stamets "Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World"

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