Psychoactive Mushroom Species
A list of psychoactive mushroom Species
Conocybe is a fairly large genus with over 50 species in North America alone. At least one species in this genus, Conocybe filaris (= Pholiotina filaris), is deadly poisonous. Conocybes are often called dunce caps or cone heads because they usually have a conical or bell-shaped cap. They are mostly fragile, often ephemeral, Mycena-like mushrooms with a long, thin and fragile stem and rusty-brown to ochre-brown spores. Conocybes are largely differentiated on microscopic characters. They are sometimes confused with genus Psilocybe mushrooms, but have brighter brown spores. Among the brown-spored mushrooms, they are easily to be confused with Bolbitius, which usually have a distinctly viscid, striate cap, and Galerina, which have a filamentous rather than cellular cap cuticle (it looks like weaved fibers under the microscope whereas those of Conocybe are composed of inflated round cells resembling cobblestones) and an often viscid and/or translucent-striate cap. These mushrooms are partial to warm weather and fruit in great abundance on watered lawns. Some, such as Conocybe lactea, are so frail that they shrivel up or topple over a few hours after appearing.
According to Rolf Singer's interpretation of the Coprinaceae family, genus Copelandia which includes more than 10 different species is one of at least three (sub)genera stemming from the traditional notion of the genus Panaeolus. Although some American mycologists strictly refer to the genus as Copelandia, most European mycologists prefer Panaeolus. At the moment the names of the species in both genera are used as synonims (e.g. Copelandia cyanescens = Panaeolus cyanescens etc.). The genus Copelandia was named by Italian mycologist Abbé Giacomo Bresadola (1847-1929) in honour of Edwin Bingham Copeland (1873-1964), an American research associate in botany who gathered fungi in the Philippines and presumably sent his collections - among which happened to be a bluing Panaeolus species - to Bresadola. Copelandias are black spored dung inhabiting tropical and subtropical mushrooms that readily bruise blue and feature a characteristic form of pleurocystidia.
This genus contains around 200 rusty-orange spored mushroom species formerly divided among Pholiota and the defunct genus Flammula. The fruiting body is typically reddish brown to rusty orange to yellow, the cap is dry with small reddish fibers, taste is bitter and a veil is often present. The vast majority of species grow on wood but at times may appear terrestrial if it's buried or decomposed. Pholiota and Cortinarius are the genera most often confused with Gymnopilus. Pholiota, however, usually has a viscid cap and duller (brown to cinnamon brown) spores, and Cortinarius grows on the ground. To an untrained eye there are also similarities to the genus Galerina which contains some deadly poisonous mushrooms.
With Inocybe, you are truly dancing with danger in a mycological minefield of edible, psychoactive, and toxic (primarily of the muscarinic type) mushrooms. In fact, Inocybe contains a higher percentage of poisonous species than any other major mushroom genus, including Amanita! Also, species in this genus are some of the most difficult to identify accurately, even for the most experienced mycologists. The late Dr. Daniel Stunz spent several decades studying this genus, and estimated 400-600 species, of which approximately 150 are recognized. Most Inocybes have not been tested for their edibility, toxicity, or psilocybin activity. Of those that have been tested, five species tested positive for psilocybin. Many species, including I. sororia, I. maculata, I. pudica, and I. geophylla, contain toxic levels of muscarine. None have yet been found to contain both psilocybin and muscarine, but there is no reason to believe that the compounds should be mutually exclusive. The best means of recognizing an Inocybe is by its characteristically silky, fibrillose, minutely scaly, and/or wooly cap which is often umbonate and seldom viscid. The spore colour is some shade of brown, and is generally duller than that of Cortinarius. In addition, most Inocybes have a noticeable odor - occasionally sweet or fruity as in I. pyriodora, but more often unpleasant (pungent, spermatic, fishy, or like fresh green corn but not often radishlike as in Hebeloma). Like Cortinarius, Inocybes are largely terrestrial and mycorrhizal and are a major fungal facet of temperate forests. Unlike Cortinarius, they are not the least bit colourful. They come in an endless, senseless procession of boring browns, yucky yellows, gratuitous grays, and wishy-washy whites, with only I. lilacina (among the common species) deviating from the norm. Extreme caution is advised when dealing with this genus, as you are more likely to find one that is toxic before you will find one that is psilocybin active or innocuous.
Genus Panaeolus belongs to the family Coprinaceae. It is a relatively small genus of black spored little brown mushrooms with a bell shaped to conical cap and thin, brittle stalk. The sides of the gills often have a mottled or spotted appearance due to uneven maturation of the spore producing cells (basidia), but they do not deliquesce (a process of autodigestion whereby the cap is reduced to a black liquid) as in Coprinus. Psathyrellas are similar but do typically grow in decayed wood substrata and in soils, and those that grow in grass tend to have a convex cap and/or dark brown spores. Psilocybes and Conocybes are common in dung, but do not have black spores. Panaeolus is abundant in pastures, lawns, and manure heaps, fruiting whenever it's moist. It often mixes company with other species. There are no known poisonous mushrooms in this genus.
These pinkish-spored mushrooms have a central ringless stem that can be broken away from the cap with ease, and close gills, free at maturity. Being wood decomposers they grow almost exclusively on wood. The wood, however, may be buried or decomposed, making the mushrooms appear terrestrial. Most species have soft flesh and they decay rapidly. They are segregated primarily on microscopic features such as structure of the cap cuticle and the the shape of cystidia (sterile cells on the gills). Worldwide, there are over 100 members in this genus. Edibility of the five inactive Pluteus species described in David Arora's Mushrooms Demystified is either edible and good (P. petasatus, P. cervinus, P. lutescens) or unknown (P. longistriatus, P. flavofuligineus). Pluteus is frequently encountered but rarely abundant. They are most often confused with the pinkish, angular spored Entolomataceae, which are usually terrestrial with gills attached to the stem.
The genus Psilocybe contains roughly 180 small to medium-sized saprophytic mushroom species that can be found in a wide range of habitats: dungs, mosses, soils, grasslands, or decaying wood debris. When moist, most species have viscid, deep-brown caps that fade in drying to yellowish brown (i.e., are hygrophanous). The more active species, particularly those high in psilocin, bruise bluish where injured. The gills are usually dark brown in color with whitish edges, and range from being subdecurrent to acutely ascending in their attachments. Almost any LBM (Little Brown Mushroom) can be mistaken carelessly for a Psilocybe - with potentially disastrous results! A good spore print is crucial, as it will eliminate the brown spored genera (Galerina, Inocybe, Conocybe etc.), which contain many poisonous species. Among the dark-spored genera, Coprinus has deliquescing gills, Psathyrella typically has a non-viscid cap and never stains blue, Panaeolus species with a viscid cap grow on dung and have black spores, and Hypholoma (= Naematoloma) and Stropharia species are usually brightly coloured, while the cap colour in Psilocybe (with the notable exception of P. cubensis) is typically some shade of brown, gray, or buff.
This genus of fungi are referred to as sequestrate fungi which means that they have lost there ability to forceful eject there spores. In stead they relies on insects and birds to eat and disperse them.
Stamets, Paul. Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World. Ten Speed Press, 1996.
Arora, David. Mushrooms Demystified. Ten Speed Press, 1986.
Guzmán, Gastón. The Genus Psilocybe. A.R. Gantner Verlag K.G., 1983.