Gymnopilus junonius

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Gymnopilus junonius
Gymnopilus junonius-02.jpg
Scientific classification
Binomial name
Gymnopilus junonius
(Fr.) P.D.Orton (1960)
Gymnopilus junonius.png
Approximate range of Gymnopilus junonius
  • Agaricus aureus Bull. (1782)
  • Agaricus junonius Fr. (1821)
  • Lepiota aurea Gray (1821)
  • Pholiota junonia (Fr.) P.Karst. (1879)
  • Pholiota grandis Rea (1903)
  • Pholiota spectabilis var. junonia (Fr.) J.E.Lange (1940)
  • Gymnopilus spectabilis var. junonius (Fr.) Kühner & Romagn. (1953)
Gymnopilus junonius
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
Mycological characteristics
gills on hymenium
cap is convex
hymenium is adnate
stipe has a ring
spore print is reddish-brown
ecology is saprotrophic
edibility: psychoactive or poisonous

Gymnopilus junonius is a species of mushroom in the family Cortinariaceae. Commonly known as Laughing Gym, Laughing Cap, Laughing Jim, or the Spectacular Rustgill, this large orange mushroom is typically found growing on tree stumps, logs, or tree bases. Some subspecies of this mushroom contain the neurotoxic oligoisoprenoid gymnopilin.


This species was formerly known as Gymnopilus spectabilis, or Pholiota spectabilis v. junonia (Fr.) J.E Lange.[1] The 'Gymn' in the present nomen means 'naked', and 'Juno' was the wife of Jupiter.[2] In Korea, this mushroom is called Hwanggalsaek Michigwang-i Beoseot, which translates to "bronze clown mushroom".


The cap ranges from 7 to 20 cm across, is convex, and is bright yellow-orange in younger specimens and orange/brown or reddish brown in older ones, with a dry scaly surface. The stem is 2.5 to 26.5 cm long, 1 to 4 cm thick, and often narrows near the base. The frail ring is dusted with rusty orange spores, the flesh is yellow and the gill attachment to the stem is adnate to sub-decurrent. It has a bitter taste, stains red with KOH and turns green when cooked in a pan. The spore print is rusty orange. It occasionally bruises blue, especially smaller specimens or "runts". This mushroom usually grows in clusters from several to several dozen individuals, but sometimes grows solitary.

Similar species[edit]

This mushroom is often mistaken for Gymnopilus ventricosus, which contains no psilocybin.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Gymnopilus junonius is a very widely distributed mushroom which grows in dense clusters on stumps and logs of hardwoods and conifers. This mushroom grows just about everywhere that decaying wood can be found,[3] but is most common in moist, lowland wooded areas near rivers.


This mushroom has subspecies which contain the hallucinogen psilocybin. Specimens found in Korea or the eastern part of US are more likely to contain psilocybin than similar mushrooms found in the western part of the US or Europe. This mushroom contains bis-noryangonin and hispidine, which are structurally related to alpha-pyrones found in kava.[4] Japanese researchers have found oligoisoprenoids, or neurotoxins in this mushroom.[5] They are also found in most states in Australia.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roger Phillips (2006). Mushrooms. Pan MacMillan. ISBN 0-330-44237-6.
  2. ^ Arora D. (1986). Mushrooms Demystified. Ten Speed Press. ISBN 0-89815-169-4.
  3. ^ Guzmán, Gastón; Allen, John W.; Gartz, Jochen (1998). "A Worldwide geographical Distribution of the neurotropic fungi, an analysis and discussion" (PDF). Ann. Mus. civ. Rovereto Sez. 14: 189–280. Referred to in the paper as Gymnopilus spectabilis.
  4. ^ Hatfield, G.M.; Brady, L.R. (1969). "Occurrence of bis-noryangonin in Gymnopilus spectabilis". Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 58 (10): 1298–1299. doi:10.1002/jps.2600581039. PMID 5388695.
  5. ^ Tanaka, Masayasu; Hashimoto, Kimiko; Okunoa, Toshikatsu; Shirahama, Haruhisa (1993). "Neurotoxic oligoisoprenoids of the hallucinogenic mushroom, Gymnopilus spectabilis". Phytochemistry. 34 (3): 661–664. doi:10.1016/0031-9422(93)85335-O.
  • C.J. Alexopolous, Charles W. Mims, M. Blackwell et al., Introductory Mycology, 4th ed. (John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken NJ, 2004) ISBN 0-471-52229-5

External links[edit]