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Gymnopilus junonius

(Fries) P.D. Orton



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Gymnopilus junonius, which was previously known as Gymnopilus spectabilis and sometimes laughing gym, is a large orange mushroom which grows on wood.

Although it has been confirmed that it can contain psilocybin, it does not always and there is speculation that subspecies from certain regions do not. At present it is unclear exactly which countries have psychoactive subspecies and which don't, or whether they grow alongside each other. In any case, the psilocybin content is considered to be quite low, however they have been shown to contain other alkaloids such as the newly identified
Gymnopilin K, which may affect the psychedelic experience.


Description:

Cap: 5-40 cm broad. Convex to broadly convex, expanding to nearly plane wiyth age. Bright yellowish orange, becoming rusty orange to tawny gold to orangish brown or reddish brown at maturity. Surface dry, covered with fibrils or small fibrillose scales. Margin incurved at first, and when young can be decorated with remnants of the veil, straightening or becoming wavy in age. Flesh yellowish. Sometimes bruising blue/green in young specimens.

Gills: Attachment adnate to sinuate to subdecurrent. Pale yellow to rusty orange, becoming rusty brown with spore maturity. Close to crowded.

Stem: 30-250 mm long by 1-10 mm thick. Firm, solid, unequal, swelling in the middle or often narrowing towards the base. Surface covered with fine fibrils below the ring. Partial veil densely cortinate to membranous, usually leaving a well-formed, membranous annulus in the superior regions of the stem, soon dusted rusty orange from spores.

Microscopic features: Spores rusty orange in deposit, ovoid to ellipsoid, roughened, 7-10.5 by 4.6-6 microns. Basidia 2- and 4-spored. Pleurocystidia absent. Cheilocystidia fusoid-ventricose with subcapitate apices, 18-24 by 4-7 microns.

Habit and distribution: Widely distributed across North America, the British Isles and Europe. In the United States, this mushroom can be found from Texas to California to Washington. Growing gregariously but most commonly in clusters around trees and stumps, occasionally on buried wood. Prefers hardwoods in eastern North America and Europe, and conifers in the western regions of the united States and Canada. 


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