Other mushrooms in the series:
Introducing Magic Mushrooms
Perhaps the most well-known mushroom, with common names such as Magic Mushrooms and Shrooms, they are a psychedelic mushroom whose principle active compounds are psilocybin and psilocin.
Psilocybin cubensis has been popping up in headlines recently as a promising alternative to antidepressants.
While they are a famous Little Brown Mushroom (LBMs, for those in the know), there is a plethora of lookalikes, some poisonous, so harvesting them from the wild is not recommended for beginners. The Psylocybe genus is a fairly large and difficult genus to differentiate.
In the Wild
Psilocybin cubensis grows on its own or in groups on dung and manure. The worldwide cattle industry has aided in its spread around the world.
The name psilocybin derives from the Greek for “bare head”, and cubensis meaning “from Cuba”, which is where it was first described by mycologist Franklin Sumner Earle in 1906.
The Psilocybin cubensis is a prime example of another symbiotic relationship called zoochory – a process of spore dispersal that allows for a much greater dispersal range than could have been achieved alone.
The cattle egret, a bird that hangs out with cattle, eating the insects that swarm around the bovines. As they do so, they walk through the patties or nearby vegetation where the spores of the psylocibin cubensis collect, which transfer to the bird. The cattle egret then migrates up to thousands of kilometers away, bringing the spores with it, and, if the habitat is conducive to growth, the psylocibin cubensis has found a new home.
Check it out in the shop!
*These links include affiliate links, for which I may receive a small amount at no extra cost to you.
- Mushrooms Demystified – David Arora (A hefty, not that portable, extensive mushroom identification book)
- All That the Rain Promises and More – David Arora (A lighter, more portable basic mushroom identification book)
- Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World – Paul Stamets (An interesting read on the potential role of mushrooms in remediation)