1946

Cy

P. Cyanescens

Psilocybe

Cyanescens

Psilocybe Cyanescens are identifiable by their signature "wavy" undulating cap. The species was first formally described in 1946 by Elsie Wakefield in her publication "Transactions of the British Mycological Society", although she had been collecting the mushrooms since 1910. Over the last century psilocybe cyanescens has vigorously spread to almost worldwide presence due to its symbiotic relationship with human urbanization. It benefits from human activity primarily because its preffered growing environment is lichenous material such as wood chips, which are common in and along the perimeter of mulched plant beds, gardens, and maintained trails. The species is prized for its potency, containing on average 0.85% psilocybin and 0.36% psilocin. It can sometimes fruit in colossal quantity, under ideal conditions; more than 100,000 mushrooms were found growing in a single patch at a racetrack in England.

Appearance

Psilocybe cyanescens, like all mushrooms of the Psilocybe genus, have a hygrophanous nature, meaning their coloration shifts depending on hydration levels. They turn a cyan bluish color when handled or bruised, due to the oxidization of psilocin. The underside of the pileus is densely gilled, and they possess a thin gelatinous veil (pellicle) separating the pileus and stipe. 

 

Pileus (caps) generally measure from 20-50mm in diameter, rounded and closed around the stem early in fruiting, opening to broadly convex with a distinct central umbo (bump) that remains as the cap opens out, becoming almost plane in maturity with wavy margins. This wavy property is what P. cyanescens are colloquially known for and identified by. Pileus coloration ranges from chestnut-brown to caramel when fresh, hygrophanously fading to yellowish-brown or ochraceous when dry.

 

Lamella (gills) on the underside of the cap are moderately crowded, broadly attached to the stem or notched. Starting out pale tan, they develop dark spots and by full maturity turn a cinnamon-smoky brown, often paler at the edges. Lamella show through as lines or striations on the outer part of the cap when fresh.

Stipe (stem/stalk) ranges from 20-80mm long and 2-5mm thick, is often slightly curved, and thicker near the base. Whitish in colour but will quickly bruise blue when handled. The surface is silky and often covered with white mycelial tufts around the base (rhizomorphs).

 

Spores Dark purplish to brown when deposited, shape resembling an elongated ellipsoid. Microscopic size ranging from 9-12 x 5-8 micrometers

Psilocybe Cyanescens has a farinaceous (similar to freshly ground flour) odor and taste.

Natural Habitat

P. Cyanescens are often found amongst humus enriched with ligneous material, such as leaves & twigs, chopped wood, sawdust, and mulch. The range of the species has exploded congruent with human urbanization, which provides ample lignin rich environments such as in and along the perimeter of mulched plant beds, mulched gardens, and maintained trail networks. The species is theorized to have originated in the Pacific Northwest and Central Europe, and subsequently contaminated lumber and mulch production and distribution centres, effectively spreading itself across the globe. Along with most other members of the psilocybe genus it's ecology is saphotrophic, meaning that it derives nutrients from dead or decaying matter in its immediate environment.