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Psilocybe cubensis

(Earle) Singer

CAP: 1.5-8 (10) cm broad, broadly conical or oval or bell-shaped (often with an umbo ) when young, gradually expanding to convex, broadly umbonate, or plane; surface smooth or with small whitish veil remnants when young, viscid when moist, soon dry, color variable: whitish with a brown to yellowish center, or entirely yellow to yellowish-buff to yellow-brown, or sometimes cinnamon-brown when young and sometimes dingy olive in old age; bruising and aging bluish; margin sometimes hung with veil remnants. Flesh firm, white, staining blue or blue-green when bruised.

GILLS: Close, adnate to adnexed or seceding to free; pallid, soon becoming gray, then deep purple-gray to nearly black; edges whitish.

STALK: 4-15 cm long, 0.4-1-5 cm thick, equal or more often thicker below, dry, white or sometimes yellowish to yellow-brown, aging or bruising blue or blue-green; smooth.

VEIL: Membranous, white or bluish-stained, usually forming a thin, fragile, superior ring on stalk which is blackened by falling spores.

SPORE PRINT: Dark purple-brown to blackish; spores 11-17x7-12 microns, elliptical, smooth, thick-walled, with a large apical germ pore. Cystidia present on faces of gills, but chrysocystidia absent.

HABITAT: Solitary or in groups on dung and manure, especially in cattle pastures; widely distributed in the tropics and subtropics-Colombian, Central America, Mexico, etc-and in the Gulf Coast region of the United States.

EDIBILITY: Hallucinogenic. Is not as powerful on a dry weight basis as Psilocybe cyanescens, but is larger.

Psilocybe cubensis is a species of psychedelic mushroom whose primary, pharmacologically active constituents are psilocybin and psilocin. They belong to the Strophariaceae family,  are reddish-cinnamon brown to golden brown in color , and bruise bluish/greenish when crushed or dried. Their caps are planar when fully mature, and their gills are andate (horizontally attached to the stem) to andex (slightly indented at the attachment point) depending on the subspecies. The gills are closely spaced and drop dark-brown to blackish spores.

Psilocybe cubensis are coprophilic, and colonize the dung of large herbivores, most notably cows and other grazing mammals. They prefer humid grasslands and have been found in tropical and subtropical environments in the Americas and Asia. In the US, they are sometimes found growing wild in the south, generally below the 35th parallel. They have been found in the highlands and river valleys of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru in South America.

Psilocybe cubensis is used in spiritual and or healing rituals in Mesoamerica, notably by the Chol and the Lacandon Maya people in southern Mexico.

This species was identified as Stropharia cubensis by F.S. Earle in Cuba in 1904 (hence the specific name). It was later identified independently as Naematoloma caerulescens in Tonkin in 1907 by N. Patouillard and as Stropharia cyanescens by W.A. Murrill in 1941 in Florida novelty. These synonyms were later assigned to the species P. cubensis. It was later found throughout U.S. Gulf Coast, Mexico, Central America, South America, West Indies, Thailand, Cambodia, India, and Australia.

Its psychoactive compounds are:

    * Psilocybin (4-Phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine)
    * Psilocin (4-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine)
    * Baeocystin (4-Phosphoryloxy-N-methyltryptamine)
    * Norbaeocystin (4-Phosphoryloxytryptamine)

Psilocin and psilocybin are substances isolated by Albert Hofmann in 1958 in a related species, P. mexicana. All four compounds are presumed hallucinogenic, though it is suspected that baeocystin and norbaeocystin are less psychoactive than psilocybin and psilocin.

Psychedelic mushrooms have rich and varied spiritual significance -- they have been used in religious ceremonies for centuries. The Aztecs reserved them for their holiest ceremonies and called them Teonancatl ("divine flesh"). Lacand

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