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Registered: 02/18/99
Posts: 2,486
Loc: Washington
Psilocybin shrooms spreading in Europe
    #344862 - 06/20/01 12:50 AM (22 years, 9 months ago)


I was checking out the Puget Sound Mycological Society's newsletters on their site and found an interesting little snippet on magic mushies I thought some others might like to read :). I've never heard of Psilocybe percivalli or Agrocybe putominium, perhaps MJ or another resident expert can tell us a little about them? Anyway, here it is.


The Spore Print, LA Myco. Soc., April 2001,from Feb. 2001 Union Jack

The enthusiasm for wood chip mulch by Britain's gardeners is allowing a host of exotic mushrooms, including hallucinogenic species, to flourish throughout Britain, said Dr. Peter Shaw of the University of Surrey in an address to the British Ecological Society. Psilocybe cyansecens and Psilocybe percivalii, two species known as ``magic mushrooms,'' are fast finding quality habitat in unsuspecting gardens. One particularly potent hallucinogenic species, Agrocybe putominium, was found growing luxuriantly on a traffic roundabout, oblivious to the noise and fumes surrounding it. The species are native to North America, and Dr. Shaw suspects they came to Britain innocently through a batch of American plants received at Kew Gardens some years ago.

Though they rarely, if ever, exist in nature, wood chips make excellent habitats for fungi. ``It is arguable that in piling up wood chips, gardeners have created a qualitatively new habitat,'' says Shaw.

Link to Newsletter-> http://www.psms.org/sporepr/sp373.html


Edited by DethHed on 06/20/01 02:55 AM.

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Registered: 07/21/99
Posts: 13,774
Loc: gone with my shrooms
Re: Psilocybin shrooms spreading in Europe [Re: spores]
    #344926 - 06/20/01 03:34 AM (22 years, 9 months ago)

Well I do not know who wrote that piece of BS about those shrooms. That story is from an English newspaper regarding a large patch of Psilocybe cyanescens found at a racetreack in England.

Psliocybe percivalli is a non-hallucinogenic species of Psilocybe and as for the other one Agrocybe putominium mentioned in the article was not mentioned as a psychoactive species but as one which grew in woodchips. And for this person in LA too mention that P. percivelli and Agrocybe putominium are two known species of hallucinogenic mushrooms is pure bullshit.

furthermore, Psilocybe cyanescens was actually originally discovered, named and then reported from Kew Gardens in Surrey, England in 1947 by Dr. E. M. Wakefield. I t is also very common in China and to suggest that it came form America is rediculous.



Posted below is one version of the original article as it appeared in an English newspaper. Several other papers posted the same story in England with variations in it due to editing. I commented on a version which reported the possible consumption of P. cyanescens by horses [sic!].


Magic mushrooms thrive as weeds wane Paul Brown, environment correspondentGuardian Wednesday January 3, 2001.

Hippies would have thought they were hallucinating. The horses would have failed a dope test. Geoffrey Kibb was amazed but stone cold sober and knew a scientific phenomenon when he saw one. Mr Kibb discovered the holy grail of the 1960s hippie culture, the most potent magic mushrooms known to science, growing in a vast carpet on a racetrack in the south of England. He estimated there were 100,000 of them, enough to blow the mind of an entire town. He reported his findings to fellow researcher Peter Shaw, an expert in fungi. To him the field of wavy-capped magic mushroom (Psilocybe cyanes-cens) was confirmation of an astonishing colonisation of Britain by exotic species of mushroom - an invasion innocently caused by gardeners anxious to keep weeds at bay. Dr Shaw says that by spreading wood chips over the ground gardeners create the perfect habitat for fungi of all sorts. The wavy-capped magic mushroom, "a particularly aggressive species" and a native of the Pacific north-west of America, is now firmly established in gardens, parks and any other place where wood chips are used for weed control. About 10 species of mushroom are eaten for their hallucinogenic qualities. Psilocybe cyanescens is identified by its wavy cap, purple brown spore print and rapid blueing of stem and cap on bruising, although there are poisonous species of similar appearance. The blueing reflects the high psilocin/psilocybin content of the fungus (which as any old hippie will tell you is the bit that makes you fly). Dr Shaw is presenting his findings today at the British Ecological Society meeting in Birmingham where he is inviting amateur mycologists to hunt down other rare species. On his way to work at the University of Surrey Dr Shaw passes a roundabout in Leatherhead. "The roundabout was mulched in 1999 and in May 2000 a flush of creamy-yellow fungi came up." They turned out to be four different exotic varieties growing in the wood chips - one of which, Agrocybe putaminium, had only been recorded once before in Britain, at Kew gardens. "The wood chips were bought from a commercial supplier in Essex, but how they acquired their strange fungal flora is still unclear." The bad news for magic mushroom hunters - deliberate growing of magic mushrooms for use is illegal but mere possession is not - is that this is not the time of year for fruiting. But out of sight the roots from which they grow are spreading rapidly. Dr Shaw's theory is that suppliers keep vast heaps of wood chips in nurseries, allowing aggressive fungi to colonise.. Wood chips and bark chips make a better habitat than the original decaying wood on which the fungi grow. This is because the root structure does not have to force its way through a hard surface but glides between the chips. Because of his Leatherhead experience and other discoveries Dr Shaw says there are bound to be exotic species not thought to exist in Britain growing happily in gardens, and some have already transferred to the wild - the magic mushroom has been been found growing on trees in Burnham Beeches, Buckinghamshire.


One version mentioned a fear of horses eatting P. cyanescens from the woodchips and creating problems.

I responded to that version with the following posted below.:


Well my original response to this person was a little sarcastric in regards to his statement about the horse, something which is not mentioned in the article at the top of this thread.

How come the sentence about the horse was not in the above copy of the article?

Since I know the horses are not interested in eating Psilocybe cyanescens, I then realized that they would never have to take a pee test as mentioned above, which is a stupid statement even for a newspaper to allow to be printed. Since, like cattle, the horse would really neeed to comsume a vast amount of shrooms because of his body weight. 15 to 30 milligrams is an average dose for a 160 pound human being. SO image how many shrooms a cow or horse would have to comsume to achieve an altered state of consiousness. Of course we know horses love jimson weed.

And Deer, slugs and squirrels love to eat Amanita's but they are different than Psilocybes. ALthough slucgs, rats and roaches love psilocybian shrooms and they do get high, even ants.

I have photos of stone ants and the holes they drilled into my shrooms from Thailand in 1987.
. So I am rambling today.

Also, I wrote to he author of the article to inform him that there are actually more than 186 mushrooms which contain psilocine and psilocybine. Just to set his record straight.

If you notice the above statement by the author of this article.

I responded about the Psilocybe pelliculosas which are scarce in the woods but in the clear cuts where alder begins to grow, the P. pelliculosas come up like wildfire. By the tens and hundreds of thousands.

I compare this article to the one from The Shetfield Islands of the coast of Scotland where reports wrote about the sheeep who were getting high on mushroms and laying down in the middle of the roads and paying no heed to the oncoming traffic.

Bullshit. Since that article appeared only one year, and no one has seen the sheep getting high since, one wonders where these reporters come up with this shit.

In researching case histories and outbreaks of hallucinogenic intoxications (accidental and deliberate), I notice these stories come in spurts every 8 to ten years.

One reporter writes something and every other reporter reports the same story differently with no knowledge of what it is they are writing about.

Well living in Hawaii, I have observed cattle chewing on grass and there would be mushrooms (Copelandia cyanescens) dangling from their mouths. Of course cattle eat the shrooms but they do not go out of their way to look for shrooms. They are only eating grass because that is what they do. ANd I do not believe they get high because of their body weight and the amount of shrooms they would have to consume to get off.

Although that might account for why they lie down in the field all day. Coultd it be that they are stoned out of their minds.

I do not think that is the case.

As for horses, Panaeolus subbalteatus grows well in rotted hay and even I have seen Psilocybe stuntzii at a riding stable growing in the stable shavings mixed with the manure and hay. But Farmers have asked me if the shrooms affect the cattle and the horses but I doubt it.

But anytime you mash up the wood into sawdust and chips you are creating a medium for producing large abundant crops of many kinds of shrooms.

If one goes through the Seattle arboretum from one end to the other, there are many muclch bed areas where hundreds of thousands of mushrooms appear and it is natural but a man made environment.

And one person recently posted pictures of Psilocybe cyanescens from The Royal Botanic Gardens at Edinburg and yes renown mycologists Dr. Roy Watling knows they are there also. And they still appear in Kew sometimes when they have the right muclch. I think the English mycologists who live in the class rooms have really very little knowledge of large growths of shrooms growing outdoors, although they are basically aware that some shrooms will produce vast amounts quite commonly.

If anyone is interested in the sheep story/ I have three clippings of it in my shroom Guide section at my web-site.

The first article was mailed to me by a colleague in New Zealand. Then a week later my sister in Orlando, Florida sent me a longer version of the same story. Then one year later I get a copy of the same story from the World Weekly News, mailed to me from a shroomer in British Columbia, Canada and now the sheep who were eating mushrooms are now eating LSD.

Check it out.

I think this is another case of Sensationalistic Journalism over responsible reporting.

have a shroomy day. And no the horses would not fail a pee test. So I wrote to this person and he sent me back a strange letter and I am sorry but I deleted it before I knew about this lenghthy thread about it.

I would think the writer thought what a cool story to come up with.



A letter from me to Dr. Shaw in England and his responses is posted below.


From: "P.Shaw"
Organization: home
To:John Allen
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2001 21:23:13 +0000
Subject:Re: Your web pages on Psilocybe cyanescens

(Peter)Dear John

(John): THis letter is to introduce myself to you. I am the author of nine books, One medical Poster and more than two dozen published papers on entheogenic mushrooms.

(Peter)What are the references for Your papers on mushrooms?

(John): I would disagree on your description of Psilcoybe cyanescens as originating in the Pacific Northwest USA. This mushroom is all over Europe to Russian and China
in large quantities.

(Peter)True, but does it grow in native habitats? Certainly in the UK it only seems to grow in man-made habitats (gardens), with only a handful of exceptions. This makes it look non-native.



Check out our web page on:

Thanks for the corrections,


And one more leter from Peter Shaw about this article in the English papers is posted below.


To: MAPS forum
Subject: MAPS: Invasion of Psilocybe cyanescens (overview)
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2001 17:11:32 +0000

Dear All

I desisted from e-posting this article when it first came out, on the grounds that it says nothing that competent mycologists haven't known for years. Since it has been posted, I'll follow it up with a post-hoc analysis. This may tell you more about media than about mushrooms!

The background story is that I have been keeping an eye on the mushrooms coming up in woodchip beds in formal gardens in the UK for a few years, and have alternated between amazement at the oddities, and bafflement in trying to identify things not in any field guide. One of the aliens in question is of course Psilocybe cyanescens, which is in fact very common if you know where to look. More information is given on:

Anyway, these casual surveys turned into an undergraduate project, which turned into offering a 15 minute talk at the annual meeting of the British Ecological Society. You know how it is in academia - they like you to give lots of conference presentations, and when you find a way of giving a high-profile talk based on not much data and no external funding you jump at the opportunity :-) !

The BES has a very savvy press officer who put out a press release about an invasion of hallucinogenic aliens, and the rest is history. The silly thing is that no press actually bothered coming to my talk (though a random Birmingham hippy floated in off the streets, and later expounded a theory that there would be an explosion of new species evolving in this habitat due to its peaceful karma - or some such logic I didn't quite follow).

The information given below is almost accurate, but my co-author is Geoff Kibby and it is he who is the mycological expert. If you really want to follow the story up, get hold of the January edition of Field Mycology (publ. by Cambridge U.P., UK - edited by my friend Geoff Kibby). He found 10,000 not 100,000 - and none ever in Burnham beeches. (This should have said Epping forest). Even better, Geoff would really like lots of overseas subscribers - so if you like fungi get yourself a subscription to Field Mycology (around $30 per year - check the CUP website).

On a more academic note, I am working on a NERC grant application to use PCR to detect remains of Psilocybe , Panaeolus, and other grassland fungi in the gut contents of soil invertebrates, to see whether their alkaloids protect them against mycelial grazing in the soil. If anyone knows of any work on Psilocybin on synapses in insects, mites, annelids or nematodes I would be most grateful to hear. Someone suggested to me chasing up the 1960s(?) work on exposing spiders to various drugs - does anyone have reference for the effects of psilocybin on spiders? (It's way too old to be on the citation databases I can access). Also anyone using DNA to explore gut contents, though I realise that this is way off topic for most of you.

All the best

Peter Shaw



and have a shroomy day

Edited by mjshroomer on 06/20/01 06:08 AM.

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Re: Psilocybin shrooms spreading in Europe [Re: spores]
    #345057 - 06/20/01 09:29 AM (22 years, 9 months ago)

Wow MJ :),

Thanks for clearing things up :)


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