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Psilocybe mexicana & P. tampanensis (sclerotia)
What is it?
What species form sclerotia?
How can slerotia be cultivated?
How can sclerotia be consumed?
How does the potency of P. mexicana and P. tampanensis sclerotia compare to Psilocybe cubensis fruitbodies?
What is it ?
A sclerotium (plural: sclerotia) is a hardened mass of mycelium which is more resistant to adverse environmental conditions than normal mycelium.
Sclerotia form from the mycelium of certain mushroom species as a defense mechanism against dryness, cold, heat, or excessive moisture. Sclerotia contain approximately 30% dry matter. The potency of dry sclerotia is around 2/3 that of dry Psilocybe cubensis fruitbodies.
(As with every mushroom, the potency can vary depending on the mushroom strain, substrate composition and other factors)
Psilocybe mexicana and Psilocybe tampanensis both form sclerotia, as well as Psilocybe atlantis. The 'A' strain of P. mexicana in particular is known for its exceptional sclerotia forming abilities.
Sclerotia can be grown in vitro on rye grass seed or different grains, or harvested from spent casings of P. mexicana or P. tampanensis.
Growing sclerotia in vitro is very simple and does not require any of the terrariums, air exchanges, or other complexities of fruiting mushrooms, but takes longer. Different grain substrates will work for sclerotia, but PF substrate is not suitable because of its vermiculite content. Any substrate containing materials not fit for human consumption should not be used for growing sclerotia, as it may be difficult during harvesting to separate the sclerotia from the substrate.
Rye grass seed (without fungicides) produces the highest yields of sclerotia, and so is the preferred substrate. In addition, some vendors sell ready made pre-sterilized bags of substrate in which sclerotia can be grown.
Preparing jars for:
Recipe #1: Rye Grass Seed Recipe
- QUART Jar
300 ml Rye Grass Seed
150 ml Water
- PINT Jar
150 ml Rye Grass Seed
75 ml Water
Recipe: #2 Whole white rice recipe
- QUART jar:
300 ml whole white rice
400 ml water
- PINT jar:
150 ml whole white rice
200 ml water
- Fill jars with grain and water
- Remove and punch an inoculation hole in the lid of each jar.
- Screw a lid fitted with a Tyvek or polyfill filter on each jar, shake well to distribute the seeds and water.
In addition an inoculation hole can be made, where you can inoculate the jars with a syringe. Cover the hole with a piece of tape.
- Sterilize in pressure cooker for 1 hour at 15 PSI.
- Shake well while the jars are still hot to distribute the wettter and dryer seeds evenly. Place back into the pressure cooker to cool down.
- When jars have cooled completely, they may be inoculated. Inoculate with a spore syringe containing P. mexicana or P. tampanensis spores (preferably P. mexicana strain %u201CA%u201D, and make sure to flame-sterilize the needle) or liquid inoculate prepared from a actively growing culture on agar.
The jars are then left in a dark place between 70 and 80 °F. They should be shaken 1-2 times during the first few weeks to spread the growing mycelium evenly. After they are fully colonized, sclerotia will begin to form in the jars. They should not be shaken after this point. Sclerotia will continue to form for 2 to 3 months after complete colonization. Time from inoculation to harvest is approximately 3 or 4 months.
After sufficient time has passed and ample sclerotia have formed, it is time to harvest. This is done by picking through the jars and obtaining all the sclerotia. When first harvested, there will be bits of grain and mycelia sticking to the sclerotia. They can be cleaned with a soft toothbrush and water. Fresh sclerotia should be dried in the same manner as fresh mushrooms. It may be necessary to cut some of it into smaller pieces for this. Sclerotia consist of about 30% dry matter. Yields of more than 30 grams of dry sclerotia per cup of substrate have been reported when growing P. mexicana on rye grass seed. At 2/3 the potency of dry cubensis, this is equivalent to 20 grams of regular dry cubensis per cup of substrate.
Like mushrooms, sclerotia can be eaten dry, fresh, or re-hydrated, but should not be cooked. It has a consistency like peanuts. Good results can be obtained from substituting sclerotia for nuts in any no-cook recipe.
Sclerotia is roughly 70% water by weight while mushrooms are around 90% water. Dry sclerotia is 2/3 as potent as dry cubensis fruits, while fresh sclerotia is twice as potent as fresh cubensis. This is due to the fact that sclerotia contain 3 times more dry matter per quantity of fresh material.
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