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Psilocybe azurescens cultivation

Historical Psilocybe azurescens cultivation notes by TEONANACATL

McCopies & D.Stribute

Thank you for requesting our "catalog". The anti-profit project TEONANACATL
doesn't have an extensive catalog. It's main focus now is to rise awareness
of the advantages of PERENNIAL NATURAL OUTDOOR CULTURE of cold-weather, wood-
eating mushrooms similar to Psilocybe cyanescens, and to distribute spore-
prints of PCY-AO: Psilocybe cyanescens var. Astoria Ossip (= Psilocybe

Enclosed is a sample of spores of PCY-AO: small, but enough for microscopy
and propagation. Any donations, further orders, inquiries (please include at
least 2$) from you will be very welcome.

In addition to our gagadadaistic infos (written mostly by Ms. Ossip in 1995,
and (a bit relcutantly) updated 1996 by Mc Copies and D.Stribute, who also
apologize for all the typos). TEONANACATL offers spores of a few selected
kinds of shrooms, currently available:

PCY-AO: Psilocybe cyanescens var Astoria Ossip (= Psilocybe azurescens) from
Central Europe. Small Sample: 5$, entire spore-print: 10$ (medium) to 20$

PSC-A4: and PSC-B1: Psilocybe cubensis strains from the US, called "Amazon"
and "Breitenbush", grown in Europe for 4/1 generations. Both varieties
derived from and are very well adopted to indoor cultivation. BEWARE: these
prints are more than two years old and maybe good only for microscopy.

PSC-X: Psilocybe cubensis strain, unknown type, maybe "Amazon". Probably came
from US, grown indoors in northern Europe in 1996.

PSC-Z: Psilocybe cubensis, said to be a cross between the strains offered by
P.Fanaticus and Pacific Exotica Spora, grown indoors in the US in 1996.

All of the above: small sample only, 2$ each.
To order, add 2$ p/h and mail payment (CASH ONLY, any currency) to:
(Att: This address here only for historical purposes, no  prints are sent out anymore)

Postamt 1092 Wien
A-1092 Vienna

- No cheques or Money Orders!
- Allow one to three weeks for processing.
- Your address will not be stored, and your letter will be destroyed.
- Please include your mailing address on a label or printed nicely, and use
a reasonable return address on your letter.
- Although spore-prints may sometimes loose some of their beauty this way,
they are mailed in regular airmail letters, unless you explicitly ask for
a more sturdy container.

Please note, that the spores are ALIVE. Therefore, they belong only to
themselves. You cannot own them, and will have to care for them, rather. With
"ordering" them you also take the full responsibility for them!

1996: Psilocybe cyanescens var. Astoria Ossip (= Psilocybe azurescens) has
been reported to fruit copiously outdoors in many places, and also (though
on a smaller scale and somewhat reluctantly) indoors in a couple of places.

Most growers now seem to use labour-saving liquid inoculation techniques,
like Psilocybe Fanaticus (http://www.fanaticus.com) spore-syringe method,
to produce spawn of PCY-AO. [We offer spore syringes of Psilocybe azurescens
at http://www.worldnet.fr/~dagon/tac/ethno.htm] Some were able to grow PCY-AO
without any sterile manipulations.

If you should have contamination (eg. greenmold) when growing spawn of PCY-AO
(on wood), don't throw it out, but put it into a suitable place outdoors.
(Even where it seems hopeless) PCY-AO often outgrows contaminants!

Psilocybe cyanescens var. Astoria Ossip
(= Psilocybe azurescens)

Following texts accompanied spores of Psilocybe cyanescens var. Astoria
Ossip, which were dispatched in january and february 1995. Some of the
letters additionally contained b/w grafics of sporeprints or a copy of the
article by J. Gartz (#6, below).

To my revered teacher, and powerful ally, TEONANACATL

"I am older, older than thought in your species. My Mystic and Magickal
powers have been known by Women since thousands of years before Buddha and
Christ. Societies that have followed my rule have lived in harmony with
nature. I can bring the mightiest wars before your eyes, or - show you -
Death. Can show you: certainty (not faith) and peace - unutterable. And I can
give you laughter, joy, and ecstasy - ineffable. Showing the future to those
who dare is nothing: I could place you with the Gods. And my joy is to see
your joy and my ecstasy is in yours. Learning to reproduce my growing
environment you will come to love me. The mushrooms which you see are only
the part of my body dedicated to sex thrills, sunbathing and the communion
with symbiotic species. My true body, hardware for my collective hypermind,
is an underground network of fine fibers, which may cover many acres, grow
for thousands of years, and can have far more connections than even the human
brain. Learning .. thy Way .. you will look upon me with awe and amazement -
For I am the Flesh of the Gods. "

The classic (1) sold more than 100,000 copies and helped a lot to ensure that
TEONANACATL will not be (again) censored into oblivion. The grain-jar method
of growing Psilocybe cubensis and other leaf/compost/dung-eating species is
fastest and can easily be done indoors. But it is also quite laborious, and
even if these mushrooms are grown on straw or compost, the cultures are
short-lived and require repeated sterile lab work for propagation. (5)

Wood-loving species, however, (and especially those preferring a colder
climate), like Psilocybe cyanescens, can easily be allowed to grow in outdoor
beds like perennial plants, comparable to trees, requiring no (more) labwork.
It should be pointed out, that mushrooms of a strikingly similar habitat are
probably the biggest living organisms on earth today, as well as among the
oldest (3).

Jochen Gartz recently described a "new method of mushroom cultivation in N.
America", which can indeed do without any labwork (6).

Some european growers prefer to start with a (onetime) run of spawn-
production (agar-dishes, glasses of oats/rye/barley, then glasses/bags of
wood-chips) in spring, which usually results in a first harvest in fall, and
a mushroom bed that can be enlarged both in area and yield in the next years
and very probably be maintained far beyond human lifetime. Clean wood debris
(like from a planing machine, sawdust does not work) seem to work even better
than freshly chopped wood. Although Psilocybe cyanescens seems to be able to
fruit on plain wood without any casing, it is advisable to supply the bed
with enough soil (and seeds), and leaves and larger branches, as the
mushrooms really love to grow in between and under grass or other plants.

The mushroom-beds obtained can be left on their own most of the year and (in
a good location) need attention only at harvesting time. Outdoors un-
favorable weather may of course diminish or prevent a year's harvest, but as
this cannot hurt the mass of underground mycelium, the shrooms will just make
up for it next season.

"Oh, growing them seems to be no less consciousness - expanding than eating
them." a, then new, pupil of Teonanacatl quite correctly realized.

Psilocybe cyanescens var. Astoria Ossip (= Psilocybe azurescens) made its way
to europe from the northern U.S., but may well have originated elsewhere,
even as a mycologist pointed out, from (sub)tropical mountain areas. Like
Psilocybe cyanescens (Wakefield), the "Wavy Cap" known from Britain and US.,
to feed on any kind of wood, cardboard or similar. Mycelium and fruiting
bodies are strongly blueing and the latter have an entheogenic potency, which
was described as 'at least twice that of Psilocybe cubensis' and 'not weaker
than Psilocybe semilanceata' after comparisons with dried and weighed samples.
The caps of Psilocybe cyanescens var. Astoria Ossip (= Psilocybe azurescens),
which easily grow bigger than 3" in dia, are often distinctly umbonate and
rarely wavy, and there is other hints, that it may just as well be a species
closely related to, but not identical with Psilocybe cyanescens. [Note:
Jochen Gartz now demonstrated that Psilocybe cyanescens var. Astoria Ossip is
indeed a separate species, probably identical to Psilocybe azurescens.]

The visionary experience induced by 2 to 2.5 g (dry/80 kg) of Psilocybe
cyanescens var. Astoria Ossip has been described as colorful, psychedelic and
as deep and far-out as can be, effecting the mind without any stress on the
body. It may encompass about everything which Stanislav Grof described in his
excellent books (7) or which can be found in the Bardo Todol (8). It is
sometimes threatening, nearly always astonishing and enlightening, and has
been found healing in quite a few cases.

(1) O. T. Oss, O. N. Oeric - Psilocybin/Magic Mushroom Grower's Guide
(1976), 2nd, revised ed. available. (2) S. L. Peele - Fruit Of The Gods
(1982), (3) for descriptions of giant armillaria fungi (honey mushrooms) see
Nature, April 1992; SporesAfield, archived at: gopher.econet.apc.org/
(4) Lao Tse - Tao Te King
(5) P. Stamets, J. S. Chilton - The Mushroom Cultivator (1983)
(6) Integration, J. for mind-moving plants & culture, 4 (1993)
(7) Realms of the Unconscious (1975) -- + J. Halifax: The Human Encounter
with Death (1977) -- LSD Psychotherapy (1979, new edition available, after
all) -- Beyond Death (1980).
(8) The Great Liberation Through Hearing in The Bardo = The Tibetan Book of
the Dead. [There are several versions available, highly differing in quality,
an original 1:1 traduction is a must have. Edited versions include The
Psychedelic Experience by the late Timothy Leary.]

Psilocybe cyanescens var. Astoria Ossip grows very vigorously and usually
produces spores copiously. It is quite exciting to watch under a microscope,
how a high percentage of these germinate within 6-36 hours when put onto agar
at room temperature.

* Send at least $2 (cash or stamps only) for more infos, or $5 for a small
sample of spores (but ample enough for microscopy and propagation), or $10 to
$20 for an entire, more decorative sporeprint of Psilocybe cyanescens var.
Astoria Ossip to:

Postamt 1092 Wien
A-1092 Vienna

TUNE IN: to universal knowledge and perception unveiled.
DROP OUT: object consumerism. stop the war against Earth and People.
TURN ON: Increase Intelligence.

... and study all of Tim Leary, Aldous Huxley, Robert Anton Wilson,
Jack Kerouac and Carlos Castaneda.

TEONANACATL teaches patience and perseverance, too.
TEONANACATL does not sell mushrooms.
TEONANACATL does not sell anything.
TEONANACATL teaches that materialistic consumerism is endangering.
TEONANACATL advocates conscientious consumerism objection.
TEONANACATL explicitly disrecommends the breaking of any Law.
TEONANACATL teaches responsibility.
TEONANACATL is a model for networking and cooperation.

McCopies & D.Stribute

McCopies & D.Stribute

Enclosed is spores of PCY-AO (= Psilocybe cyanescens var. Astoria Ossip),
collected in last fall. Please treat them with responsibility and the respect
due to all forms of life.

They come from mushrooms growing outside in a forest environment, and
therefore some contamination with other spores is possible. But great care
was taken not to introduce additional contaminants, and the sporeprints were
all sealed into plastic within a few days of taking them. Especially when
kept in a cool and dark place they will stay viable for many years. At least
small parts of the spores of each mushroom were already spread in promising
places and so given back to earth, thankfully.

These spores are provided to enable research on this fascinating but not well
known organism. Your feedback will be highly welcome. They must not be sold
and neither the spores nor any derivatives thereof should be used to gain
personal profit or for other ethically doubtful purposes.

There is many things to learn still about TEONANACATL in it's many forms:

- PCY-AO certainly belongs to the genus Psilocybe. It is now ('96) quite
certain, that PCY-AO is not a strain of Psilocybe cyanescens, "Wavy Cap", but
another species. Probably it is identical to Psilocybe azurescens and
Psilocybe astoriensis.

- Very probably the high entheogenic potency of PCY-AO is due mainly to its
comparably high content of psilocybin and/or psilocin. Samples of PCY-AO
(from outdoor natural culture, avaraged over a larger batch of mature
specimens, mostly dried after sporeprinting) and also Psilocybe cubensis
(cultivated on straw, indoors) and Psilocybe semilanceata (collected from
their natural habitat) were found to contain the following amounts (in % of
dry weight) of alkaloids:

PCY-AO '94, caps: 0.7% Psilocybin, 0.4% Psilocin (1.3% "Total")
PCY-AO '94, stems: 0.8% Psilocybin, 0.2% Psilocin (1.1% "Total")
PCY-AO '93: 1% Psilocybin, 0.4% Psilocin (1.6% "Total")
PCY-AO '91: 0.9% Psilocybin, 0.1% Psilocin (0.5% "Total")
P.cubensis '91: 0.4% Psilocybin, 0.1% Psilocin (0.5% "Total")
P.semilanceata '94: 1.1% Psilocybin, 0% Psilocin [#] (1.2% "Total")

*note*: After ingestion, psilocybin is hydrolized to psilocin pretty rapidly
and completely. 100mg of Psilocybin (C12H17N2O4P, MW=284.3) are equivalent to
72mg of psilocin (C12H16N2O, MW=204.3), or - in other words - psilocin has
1.4 times the potency of psilocybin. "Total" here refers to the (thus
calculated and rounded) equivalent of psilocybin.

[#] Psilocybe semilanceata also contained 0.2% of Baeocystin (others only
traces). Baeocystin is said to have effects on humans very similar to those
of psiloc(yb)in but weaker (per weight).

* Progress in the most promising kind of research, however - the goal of which
was summarized beautifully by Aldous Huxley in 1962 in a letter to Albert
Hofmann (below) - has been made nearly impossible for several decades now
through propaganda, censorship and oppression, which now openly employ the
methods of war!

I hope to see the development of a techniqui of Applied Mysticism - a
technique for individuals to get the most out of their transcendental
experience and to make use of the insights from the other world in the
affairs of this world. (Meister Eckhart wrote that "What is taken in by
contemplation must be given out in love".) This is what must be developed -
the art of giving out in love and intelligence what is taken in from vision
and the experience of self-transcendence and solidarity with universe.
(edited, 1994)


Psilocybe cyanescens var. Astoria Ossip Notes
McCopies & D.Stribute

Dear mushroom friends,
fungi are a fascinating form of life, which we have barely begun to
understand. Keep in mind, that they are not plants. Hopefully you are already
familiar with at least two or three major books on the subject.

Please note, that -just to make sure we are on the safe side - no record of
your name or address was kept, and your letters were burnt. So we cannot
write to you again. But mail to 1092, will reach us for quete a time, we
would be glad to learn about how you and PCY-AO are doing. In case it does
not work, feel free to write to us again for support. Please include some
stamps or cash to cover postage. Live cultures on either wood-chips, paper or
small pieces of agar, sealed into plastic, can usually be sent as standard
airmail letters easily and with success. We do not have any of the latter
presently, but for sure some of you will have some by now.

Please give us ample time for responding. We have other things to tend, too
and we support the campaign for the delayment of time, anyway...

Spore germination and agar culture:
There seems to be hardly any difference between different MEA and PD(Y)A-
formulas or between cheapest agar-agar or a highly purified quality, or
whether pH is adjusted precisely, phosphate or trace elements are added or
not. High humidity is absolutely essential for spore germination; within a
reasonable range (maybe (5)10-30(40) degrees Celsius for PCY-AO) temperature
has effect on the speed but hardly on overall success.

Strain selection:
Do not bet on one horse. It did happen, that a grower put a lot of work into
one clone of mycelium, which was growing excellently but never produced
mushrooms. If uncontaminated you can use the (mixed) cultures resulting from
spore germination to produce a first run of spawn (and shrooms) but also try
to isolate at least two different favourite strains, choosing carefully,
which you want to "work" (opus magna) with.

Growing spawn on grain and wood:
PCY-AO seems to like barley, oats, rye, wheat or rice alike. Again, the exact
composition hardly seems to matter but the consistency is very important -
you have to optimize your grain/water ratio. My personal favourite mixture is
half oats (least "sticky"), a quarter millet (often used for commercial spawn
production. Advantage: many small granules), rest: mixture of others as
available. I cut fully grown agar cultures (and only perfect ones) with a new
blade (PCY-AO mycelium is pretty thoughl; shows strong blueing here) into as
many pieces as possible (hundreds at least) and work these thoroughly using a
whole agar plate per jar. PCY-AO also seems to like nearly any kind of wood:
fir, larch, beech, birch, willow and others, did not show any difference in
growth. (At least) for spawn-making the use of chips from planing (clean+dry)
wood or a similar material, more coarse than sawdust and either soaked in
water overnight or sterilized shortly with steam (allow to drip off a few
hours), instead of freshly chopped branches, is highly recommended. A lot of
these small, clean wood-chips can be used to feed, cover and spread your
outdoor bed. Mycelial growth produces CO2 and is stimulated by higher
concentration of CO2. Us glass jars for sterilizing grain media and large
plastic bags with only a few tiny holes for growing wood-spawn, and pack
these into boxes.

Outdoor culture:
The only edible, which can still be found here at the time when PCY-AO is
fruiting is Lepista = Clitocybe nuda. Around LA or Miami you can probably
produce spawn of PCY-AO but you would have to take it to a cooler place to
fruit. Carpophores mature much slower than eg. thos of Psilocybe cubensis and
provided with suitable conditions they produces spores slowly but abundantly.

If your bed is well drained, so that it cannot be over-watered, it can easily
be watered automatically . PCY-AO likes very wet conditions, and often grows
happily with water standing (literally) on their caps for days (at 0-10C).
PCY-AO often has a very high content of water: one batch, harvested after a
week of rain, contained only 5.5% dry matter.

Here, about 48N, altitude 600m, when PCY-AO is fruiting, in october or
november, the sun is pretty low and more than once PCY-AO placed the nicest
group of fruiting bodies on the periphery of the bed and into a spot with
some sunlight. A thermometer near the group on the closeup foto showed up to
35C sunlight but PCY-AO, supplied with enough water, seemed to enjoy that.

Only quite hard frost (several degrees below 0C) will abort fruiting. This
can be prevented a bit by covering the bed and watering.

A dry wind can kill the growing mushrooms pretty fast, even when it is cold,
unless the bed is well protected.

For taking spore prints the cleaned caps were put onto paper and into a box,
covered with a cloth and kept moist and cool for several days.

For sacramental use the mushrooms should be dried without heat and then
pulverized with a coffee grinder or kitchen machine, preferably mixing a
larger amount of mushrooms, which might be of quite different strenght, into
a standardized material. Eating whole dried mushrooms is very unreliable and
the effects may be much weaker and/or considerably delayed. Proper drying and
storage (airtight, dark, cold) even for years does not diminuish potency much.
Every person who is to share this entheogen must be well informed and
determine her own dosage, and each individual dosage should be measured
reliably (no eating out of one pot)!

Psiloc(yb)ine, which also happens to be the least toxic of all the drugs we
use, was found in a hundred or more species of mushrooms, which grow (at
least) all over this planet and is the most widely distributed fungal toxin
known. It's shamanistic use on every continent has been documented but the
influence on the development of womankind, which this entheogen has had
particularly on the evolution of awareness and the origin of religion has not
yet been grasped by many human minds (if any). The possibilities and benefits,
which might grow from this symbiontic interspecies relationship in the future,
lie truly beyond our imagination.

Take care! Xceed (with delicacy)! See you, out there, at full moons...

We (recommend you to) subscribe to:

- MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, 1801
Tippah Ave., Charlotte, NC-28205; (704)358-9830; http://www.maps.org
- The Entheogen Review, Entheogen Review, P.O. Box 800, El Rito, NM-87530
- TMC, The Mushroom Journal of the Florida Mycology Research Center, P.O. Box
8104, Pensacola, FL-32505


The following article appeared in the Entheogen Review

Psilocybe cyanescens is indeed the best variety of mushrooms for home
cultivation, as reported in the Fall '95 ER. They are up to seven times as
potent as Psilocybe cubensis and can be grown outdoors in all temperate
climates with no need for sterile techniques.

They grow on fresh chips of Alder, Maple and Fir. I have used fresh Alder
(Alnus spp.) brush chipped in the Spring. I mix jars of spawn into garbage
bags of fresh woodchips and lay one foot deep beds of the inoculated chips
under bushes were they will receive permanent shade. They need to be
reasonable damp during the year and covering the chip piles with several
inches of leaves insures this.

It takes two years to produce a harvest in my northern climate (near Canadian
border). After the first year, the wood chips will be completely white with
the developing mycelium. At the end of the second growing season, late in the
Autum (November), they will fruit. Many times I have harvested my main crop
in the first snows, they seem to like cold temperatures to fruit.

Each bed will give only one good fruiting season. Therefore one needs to
start new beds every year. Take a shovelful of the white chips from the one-
year-old beds to inoculate fresh wood chips. This is a very low-tech and safe
way to grow powerful mushrooms almost everywhere.

Johnny Appleseed


Paul Stamets and Jochen Gartz
A new caerulescent Psilocybe from the Pacific Coast of
Northwestern America

A new taxon from the Pacific Northwest of North American is described. This
species can be placed into Stirps Cyanescens of the Sections Caerulescents
Singer (Singer, 1948; Singer & Smith, 1958a) or into the more recently
constructed Section Cyanescens as amended by Guzman (1983). This new species
is autumnal and lignicolous, living in soils enriched with deciduous wood-
debris, characterestic of riparian woodlands of the coastal regions of the
Pacific Northwest of North America. Strongly bruising bluish to indigo-black,
this Psilocybe species features a hazelnut to caramel-colored pileus and a
stipe whose base radiates clusters of white rhizomorphs. This novel species
is delineated through a combination of morphological and microscopic
feautures and possesses unusally high concentrations of psilocybin, psilocin
and baeocystin.

Psilocybe azurescens Stamets & Gartz sp. nova

Pileo ochreato-brunneo, hygrophano, viscido, pellicula separabili intructo,
conico dein convexo, plano 30-100mm lato, umbonato. Lamellis sinuato-adnatis,
pallidis vel brunneo. Stipite albo, stricto, elongato, 90-200mm, fibrillis
cum strigositate basis caerulescentibus. Carne caerulescente. Sporis 12-13,5
x 6,5-8.0 um. Cystidiis fusoid-ventricosis. Cheilocystidiis 23-28 x 6.5-8.0
um; pleurocystidiis 23-35 x 9-10 um.

Macroscopic Features:
Pileus 30-100mm in diameter, conic to convex, expanding to broadly convex and
eventually flattening with age with a pronounced, persistent broad umbo;
surface smooth, viscous when moist, covered by a separable gelatinous
pellicle; chestnut to ochraceous brown to caramel in color often becoming
pitted with dark blue or bluish black zones, hygrophanous, fading to light
straw color in drying, strongly bruising blue when damaged; margin even,
sometimes irregular and eroded at maturity, slightly incurved at first, soon
decurved, flattening with maturity, translucent striate and often leaving a
fibrillose annular zone in the upper regions of the stem. Lamellae ascending,
sinuate to adnate, brown, often stained info-black where injured, close,
with two tiers of lamellulae, mottled, edges withish. Spore-print dark
purplish brown to purplish black in mass. Stipe 90-200mm long by 3-6mm thick,
silky white, dingy brown from the base or in age, hollow at maturity.
Composed of twisted, cartilaginous tissue. Base of stem thickening downwards,
often curved, and characterized by coarse white aerial tufts of mycelium,
often with azure tones. Mycelium surrounding stipe base densely rhizomorphic,
silky white, tenaciously holding the wood-chips together, strongly bruising
bluish upon disturbance. Odor none to slightly farinaceous. Taste extremely

Microscopic Features:
Clamp connections abundant. Ixocutis gelatinous, hyaline hyphae, 1.5 - 5.5um
in diameter. Sub-pellis a brownish band, more highly pigmented than pileal
trama. Lamellar trama regular, composed of hyphae 5 - 15 um in diameter,
slightly encrusted with brown pigments; subhumenium a subcellular compact
layer, 10um thick. Pileal trama 5 - 15um thick. Pleurocystidia abundant,
fusoid-ventricose, tapering to a narrow but short neck, bluntly papillate,
23-35 x 9-10 um. Cheilocystidia forming a nongelatinized sterile band, nearly
identical to pleurocystidia measuring 23-28 x 6.5-8.0 um. Basidia 4-spored,
measuring 27-30.5 x 6.3-7.2 um. Spores 12-13.5 x 6.5-8.0 um, rich reddish
brown in KOH and light purplish vinaceous in aqeous ammoniacal solutions.
Wall thickness less than 1 um. Caulocystidia abundant above the annular zone
and similar to pleurocystidia but thicker walled and more irregular,
measuring 43um long with undulated necks. Cortial hyphae on stipe slightly
thickened, almost subgelatinized walls, 3 - 5 um in diameter with clamps and
brown intra-perital pigment. Caulocystidia absent below annular zone. Tissue
notably awash with bluish tones.

Habit & Habitat:
Cespitose to gregarious on deciduous wood-chips and/or in sandy soils rich in
lignicolous debris. Aspect collyboid, generating an extensive, dense and
tenacious mycelial mat, Psilocybe azurescens causes the whitening of wood. Fruitings
begin in late September and continue until harsh frost, usually mid-November.

Specimens were first collected on an alluvial plain along the Columbia river
network near Astoria, Oregon in 1979. Fruitings of this species are known
from Oregon and Washington. Holotype: A dried collection of fruitbodies
cultivated on alder (Alnus rubra) wood-chips using the methods described by
Stamets (1993) outdoors, harvested on 11/21/93 and deposited at WTU. Original
clone used for propagation was from Astoria, Oregon on 10/30/79. Additional
collections from Tillamook and Astoria, Oregon in October 1990 were collected
by one of the authors (Jochen Gartz) and deposited in LZ.

Taxonomic Considerations:
Psilocybe azurescens generally resembles Psilocybe bohemica Sebek, Psilocybe
cyanofibrillosa Guzman & Stamets, Psilocybe cyanescens Wakefield, Psilocybe
eucalypta Guzman & Walting, Psilocybe mairei Singer, Psilocybe serbica Moser
& Horak and Psilocybe collybioides Singer & Smith. Complete reproductive
barriers have been found be one of the authors (Jochen Gartz) between
Psilocybe azurescens and Psilocybe bohemica as well as between Psilocybe azurescens and
Pacific Northwest European collections of Psilocybe cyanescens.

In it's natural habitat, the general aspect of Psilocybe azurescens is most
similar to Psilocybe cyanofibrillosa Stamets & Guzman but differs in several
significant macroscopic features. Psilocybe azurescens has pleurocystidia
whereas Psilocybe cyanofibrillosa has long necked, lageniform cheilocystidia,
often forked, while Psilocybe azurescens has singly formed, fusoid ventricose
cheilocystidia with short necks. Macroscopically Psilocybe azurescens is much larger
in form and quickly bruises bluish to indigo-black upon handling. The
bruising reaction in P. cyanofibrillosa is less intense and comparatively
slow in appearing, which directly reflects it's low psilocybin content
(Bocks, 1968; Stamets et al. 1980). Both species are characterized by non-
undulating pileal margins.

Psilocybe azurescens also closely resembles a variety of Pacific Northwest
Psilocybe widely reported as Psilocybe cyanescens Wakefield, a species
originally discovered in the British Isles. This variety of Psilocybe
cyanescens gained considerable notoriety in the mid-1970's (Weil, 1975, 1977;
Pollock, 1975; Ott, 1975; Guzman & Ott, 1976; Guzman et al., 1976). Yet, this
mushroom has probably been confused with other taxa. The mushroom portrayed
in many popular field guides and identified as Psilocybe cyanescens (Arora, 1979 &
1991; Lincoff & Mitchel, 1977; Lincoff, 1981; Menser, 1977; Ott & Bigwood,
1978; Stamets, 1978) differs from the type in the relative number of surface

In the Pacific Northwest, Psilocybe azurescens can be macroscopically distinguished
from Psilocybe cyanescens by the following combination of features. Psilocybe azurescens
has a cap margin characteristically even, not undulating and has a persitent,
pronounced umbo at the disc when the pileus fully expands. The variety of P.
cyanescens from the Pacific Northwest is characterized by distinctive,
exaggerated undulating margin, resembling a sine-wave at maturity and is
notably non-umbonate. In general, Psilocybe azurescens, as it is presently
understood, is substantially larger than most collections of Psilocybe cyanescens.
Microscopically, the pleurocystidia in Psilocybe azurescens are mucronate whereas
the Pacific Northwest form Psilocybe cyanescens can become distinctly capitate at
maturity. Otherwise, the microscopic features of Psilocybe azurescens are largely
coincident within the range reported for the Pacific Northwest Psilocybe cyanescens.

Krieglsteiner (1984, 1986) extensively studies collections of Psilocybe from
Europe, some of which were determined to be Psilocybe cyanescens. He proposed
that Psilocybe mairei Singer, Psilocybe serbica Moser & Horak and Psilocybe
bohemica could be conspecific with Psilocybe cyanescens Wakefield because
these taxa could not be delineated microscopically. However, one significant
feature which characterizes Psilocybe bohemica and separates this species
from these aforementioned taxa and from Psilocybe azurescens is that the
pilei of Psilocybe bohemica become white upon drying. Furthermore, one author
(Jochen Gartz) has found complete reproductive barriers between 80 random
pairings of monokaryons from Psilocybe azurescens, Psilocybe cyanescens and
Psilocybe bohemica. Since monokaryons from single spore isolates from each of
these species have proved to be incompatible, these taxa appear to be auto-
nomous. Former research (Gartz, 1993) has also shown that complete repro-
ductive barriers exist between Pacific Northwest strains of Psilocybe
cyanescens and Czechoslovakian collections of Psilocybe bohemica. Mating
studies paired single spore isolations and clamp connections failed to
form, an indication of incompatibility. Furthermore, monokaryons from a
collection of Psilocybe cyanescens (non-pleurocystidiate form) from Austria
in October of 1992 also failed to form dikaryotic mycelia when paired with
strains of Pacific Northwest Psilocybe cyanescens (pleurocystidiate form),
Psilocybe azurescens and Psilocybe bohemica, respectively.

A closely related species is Psilocybe eucalypta Guzman & Watling. Psilocybe
eucalypta has smaller and narrower cheilocystidia, only 15-25 x 4.4-6.6 um in
comparison to Psilocybe azurescens cheilocystidia which measure 23-28 x 6.5-8.0 um.
Furthermore, Psilocybe azurescens produces a more massive fruitbody, with a pileal
diameter of 30 to 100 mm whereas P. eucalypta is smaller, falling within a
range of 15-38 mm. P. eucalypta has thus far only been reported from the
region centering around eastern Australia. Lastly, Psilocybe serbica Moser &
Horak (1968), a temperate species, can be easily separated from Psilocybe azurescens
by it's lack of pleurocystidia and it's non-umbonate form. Another related
species, Psilocybe collybioides Singer & Smith, known at present from
Argentina, shares many features common to Psilocybe azurescens save for it's
exceptionally small spores, measuring only 5.5-10 x 3.5-6.5 um. These com-
binations of features separate Psilocybe azurescens from the aforementioned taxa.
Psilocybe azurescens is being named for the soft blue tones present on the
mushroom, before handling or damage, especially along the cap margin and in
the basal mycelium. Additionally the name also honors the son of one of the
authors (Paul Stamets).

Chemical Analyses:
In comparison to other species of Psilocybe, the fruitbodies of Psilocybe
azurescens contain unusually high concentrations of psilocybin, psilocin and
baeocystin - accumulating to more than 2% of the dry biomass of the mushrooms
(Beug & Bigwood, 1982; Gartz, 1989, 1992-1994; Wurst et al., 1984). Thin
Layer Chromatography (TLC) reveals a nearly identical profile of extracts
from P. semilanceata and Psilocybe azurescens (psilocybin, baeocystin and six minor
alkaloids), differing only in psilocin content (Gartz, 1985). Baeocystin is
present in high concentrations in Psilocybe azurescens and P. semilanceata. Gartz
(1993) has determined that baeocystin is also a hallucinogenic compound.

Research by Gartz (1989) showed alkaloid synthesis in Psilocybe cubensis
(Earle) Singer is suppressed when the mycelium is grown using agar media
supplemented with more than 10% mal sugar. Psilocybe azurescens reacts similarly.
Research has also shown that alkaloid content is generally low in the mycelia
compared to the fruitbodies. With Psilocybe cubensis, the main alkaloid
synthesis occurs during the differentiation of the mycelia to the fruitbodies
(Gartz & Muller, 1989). Further, younger fruitbodies frequently have higher
alkaloid levels than more mature ones (Gartz, 1992/1993). As Table III shows,
specimens grown outdoors in Germany did not vary significantly from those
grown in the United States, after dehydratation, even when the supporting
substrates were dissimilar.

Table I
Indole alkaloid content of collection (LZ) of wild fruitbodies of Psilocybe
azurescens from Tillamook, Oregon, USA, October, 1989.

Sample 1: 50mg dry weight, 1.71% Psilocybin, 0.34% Psilocin, 0.41% Baeocyst.
Sample 2: 101mg dry weight, 1.68% Psilocybin, 0.28% Psilocin, 0.38% Baeocyst.
Sample 3: 167mg dry weight, 1.56% Psilocybin, 0.30% Psilocin, 0.32% Baeocyst.
Sample 4: 213mg dry weight, 1.51% Psilocybin, 0.31% Psilocin, 0.28% Baeocyst.
Sample 5: 270mg dry weight, 1.40% Psilocybin, 0.28% Psilocin, 0.19% Baeocyst.
Sample 6: 317mg dry weight, 1.29% Psilocybin, 0.26% Psilocin, 0.27% Baeocyst.
Sample 7: 450mg dry weight, 1.20% Psilocybin, 0.25% Psilocin, 0.31% Baeocyst.

Table II
Indole alkaloid content from naturalized, outdoor cultivated specimens of
Psilocybe azurescens, from Astoria, Oregon, USA, October, 1990.

Sample 1: 062mg dry weight, 1.78% Psilocybin, 0.38% Psilocin, 0.35% Baeocyst.
Sample 2: 123mg dry weight, 1.75% Psilocybin, 0.39% Psilocin, 0.36% Baeocyst.
Sample 3: 170mg dry weight, 1.58% Psilocybin, 0.34% Psilocin, 0.37% Baeocyst.
Sample 4: 224mg dry weight, 1.43% Psilocybin, 0.28% Psilocin, 0.31% Baeocyst.
Sample 5: 331mg dry weight, 1.18% Psilocybin, 0.19% Psilocin, 0.25% Baeocyst.
Sample 6: 472mg dry weight, 1.20% Psilocybin, 0.20% Psilocin, 0.21% Baeocyst.

Table III
Indole alkaloid content from dried, outdoor-cultivated, naturalized specimens
of Psilocybe azurescens, from Germany (A) and USA (B).

Sample 1:
A - 156mg dry weight, 1.62% Psilocybin, 0.42% Psilocin, 0.38% Baeocystin
B - 165mg dry weight, 1.72% Psilocybin, 0.38% Psilocin, 0.39% Baeocystin
Sample 2:
A - 213mg dry weight, 1.56% Psilocybin, 0,32% Psilocin, 0.28% Baeocystin
B - 233mg dry weight, 1.62% Psilocybin, 0.25% Psilocin, 0.24% Baeocystin
Sample 3:
A - 312mg dry weight, 1.43% Psilocybin, 0.26% Psilocin, 0.31% Baeocystin
B - 341mg dry weight, 1.32% Psilocybin, 0.25% Psilocin, 0.35% Baeocystin
Sample 4:
A - 412mg dry weight, 1.17% Psilocybin, 0.31% Psilocin, 0.28% Baeocystin
B - 403mg dry weight, 1.21% Psilocybin, 0.38% Psilocin, 0.19% Baeocystin
Sample 5:
A - 450mg dry weight, 1.19% Psilocybin, 0.36% Psilocin, 0.24% Baeocystin
B - 465mg dry weight, 1.24% Psilocybin, 0.24% Psilocin, 0.30% Baeocystin

Table IV
Variation of the amounts of alkaloids in the mycelium of Psilocybe azurescens
depending on the concentration of malt extract in solidified agar (1,5%)
after 3 weeks of colonization.

1% Malt Extract: 0.31% Psilocybin dry weight, 0.12% Psilocin, 0.12% Baeocyst.
2% Malt Extract: 0.25% Psilocybin dry weight, 0.09% Psilocin, 0.08% Baeocyst.
3% Malt Extract: 0.28% Psilocybin dry weight, 0.08% Psilocin, 0.05% Baeocyst.
4% Malt Extract: 0.27% Psilocybin dry weight, 0.04% Psilocin, 0.03% Baeocyst.
5% Malt Extract: 0.25% Psilocybin dry weight, 0.02% Psilocybin, 0% Baeocystin
6% Malt Extract: 0.18% Psilocybin dry weight, 0% Psilocin, 0% Baeocystin
8% Malt Extract: 0.05% Psilocybin dry weight, 0% Psilocin, 0% Baeocystin
10% Malt Extract: At and above 10% malt extract, the mycelium is non-blueing.

The authors would like to thank Scott Redhead and Roy Watling for reviewing
the manuscript. The senior author is grateful to Michael Beug and The
Evergreen State College for their continued support and to Azureus Stamets
for his assistance in the field. The authors also express gratitude to G. K.
Mueller from the University of Leipzig Herbarium (LZ) and Marta Semerdzieva
of Prague. Paxton Hoag and Mark Herke are credited for first collecting this
mushroom. John Allen and Eric Iseman helped in field collections.

(1) A mushroom reportedly responsible for the death of a child in Kelso,
Washington in 1962 was identified by Alexander Smith as Psilocybe baeocystis
Singer & Smith (see McCawley et al., 1962; Singer & Smith, 1958a) From the
Kelso site, cultures were isolated and mushrooms were grown from mycelial
spawn. The cultured specimens have an aspect atypical of Psilocybe baeocystis
Singer & Smith and strikingly typical of the Pacific Northwest form of
Psilocybe cyanescens. These two species can be easily delineated from one
another macroscopically. Furthermore, these authors know of no successes in
cultivating P. baeocystis, despite many attempts. In contrast, Psilocybe cyanescens
can easily be cultivated on wood-chip substrates. When one of the authors
(Paul Stamets) noted these discrepancies to Alexander Smith (1982), he
responded that the identification was tentative, made from poorly preserved
spore material retrieved from stomach washings and was not without

(2) Psilocybe cyanescens Wakefield was originally described from a collection
at the Kew Gardens, Surrey, England. (See Dennis & Wakefield, 1946; Singer &
Smith, 1958a; Guzman, 1983). The variety of Psilocybe cyanescens from the Pacific
Northwest has abundant and conspicuous pleurocystidia, often with distinctive
swollen apices, evenly dispersed over the surface plane of the lamellae. The
type collection of Psilocybe cyanescens by Wakefield has so few surface cystidia
that they could easily be overlooked (Wakefield, 1946; Singer & Smith, 1958b;
Krieglsteiner, 1984). The discrepancies seen between these varieties may be
significant at the species level. Further study of these taxa is warranted.

(3) Chang & Mills (1992) propose that P. eucalypta is actually P.
subaeruginosa. Guzman et al. (1993) strongly disagree with this synonymy.
Krieglsteiner (1984, 1986) believes that P. eucalypta is conspecific with
Psilocybe cyanescens.


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