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Psilocybe yungensis

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Psilocybe yungensis
Found in Jalisco, Mexico
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Strophariaceae
Genus: Psilocybe
Species: P. yungensis
Binomial name
Psilocybe yungensis
Singer & A.H.Sm. (1958)

Psilocybe yungensis var. diconica A.H.Smith (1958)
Psilocybe acutissima Heim (1959)
Psilocybe chiapanensis Guzman (1995)
Psilocybe isauri Singer (1959)
Psilocybe subyungensis Guzman (1978)

Psilocybe yungensis
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
Mycological characteristics
gills on hymenium

cap is conical

or campanulate

hymenium is adnate

or adnexed
stipe is bare
spore print is purple-brown
ecology is saprotrophic
edibility: psychoactive

Psilocybe yungensis is a species of psychedelic mushroom in the Strophariaceae family. In North America, it is found in northeast, central and southeastern Mexico. In South America, it has been recorded from Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador. It is also known from the Caribbean island Martinique, and China. The mushroom grows in clusters or groups on rotting wood. The fruit bodies have conical to bell-shaped reddish- to orangish-brown caps that are up to 2.5 cm (1.0 in) in diameter, set atop slender stems 3 to 5 cm (1.2 to 2.0 in) long. The mushrooms stain blue when bruised, indicative of the presence of the compound psilocybin. Psilocybe yungensis is used by Mazatec Indians in the Mexican State of Oaxaca for entheogenic purposes.

Taxonomy and classification[edit]

The species was described as new to science by American mycologists Rolf Singer and Alexander H. Smith, based on specimens collected in Nor Yungas Province, Bolivia, on the road to La Paz to Coroico.[4] They published a short description in Latin in a 1958 Mycologia publication,[5] followed by a more detailed description in English later that year.[6] According to Psilocybe specialist Gastón Guzmán, the species Psilocybe acutissima (described by Roger Heim in 1958[7]), and Psilocybe isauri (described by Singer in 1959[8]) are synonyms, as both the macroscopic and microscopic features are the same in the type material of all three.[2] Singer considered P. isauri a species distinct from P. yungensis because of differences in the hairiness of the stem surface. Smith named the variety P. yungensis var. diconica for specimens he found with conical, rather than obconical (the form of an inverted cone) papilla. Similarly, the main distinguishing feature that Heim ascribed to P. acutissima was a papillate cap (somewhat resembling the shape of a female human breast). Later studies showed that these morphological variations did not warrant individual recognition, because of the variable nature of these characteristics, and the existence of intermediate forms.[4]

Guzmán places P. yungensis in the section Cordisporae, a grouping of Psilocybe species characterized primarily by having rhomboid spores less than 8 micrometers long.[9] The specific epithet yungensis refers to the name of the type locality.[4] The natives of Huautla de Jiménez and Mixe natives call P. yungensis a hongo adivinador ("divinatory mushroom"), hong que adormece ("soporific mushroom"), or hongo genio ("genius mushroom").[10]


Caps range in shape from conical to bell-shaped, and have a prominent umbo. Stems are densely covered with whitish fibrils pressed flat against the surface.

The P. yungensis fruit bodies have caps that are conical to bell-shaped in maturity, and reach a diameter of up to 2.5 cm (1.0 in). The cap surface is smooth and sticky, and, in moist specimens, has faint radial striations (grooves) that extend almost to the margin. The color of fresh caps ranges from dark reddish-brown to rusty brown to orangish-brown. Additionally, the cap is hygrophanous, meaning it will change color depending on its state of hydration; a dry cap fades to become dull yellowish-brown or the color of "dingy straw". The cap frequently has a prominent umbo.[10]

The gill attachment ranges from adnate (broadly attached to the stem) to adnexed (narrowly attached). The spacing of the narrow gills is close to crowded, and the gill color is initially dull gray before maturing spores cause the color to change to purplish-brown. The stem is 3 to 5 cm (1.2 to 2.0 in) long and 1.5 to 2.5 mm (0.06 to 0.10 in) thick, and more or less equal in width throughout its length or slightly larger near the base. The hollow, brittle, stem is pale brown on the upper part, and reddish-brown near the bottom. The stem is densely covered with whitish fibrils that are pressed flat against the surface; the fibrils slough off in maturity to leave a smooth surface.[4] The mushroom has a cortinate partial veil (resembling the webby cortina produced by species of Cortinarius) but it does not last for long; it occasionally leaves behind sparse remnants of tissue hanging on the cap margin and the upper part of the stem. No ring remains on the stem after the veil disappears. All parts of the mushroom will stain blue when injured; these stains will blacken as the mushroom dries.[10]

Spores and translucent cheilocystidia
Cap cuticle, cap tissue, and gill tissue at 100x magnification

The spore print is dark purplish-brown. Spores range in shape from roughly rhomboid to roughly elliptical, and typically have dimensions of 5–6 by 4–6 μm.[10] They are thick-walled and have a large germ pore. The basidia (spore-bearing cells) are club-shaped to swollen, hyaline, usually four-spored (although rarely two- or three-spored forms are present), and measure 13–19 by 4.4–6.6 μm.[4] The pleurocystidia (cystidia on the gill face) are ventricose (swollen) near the base and often mucronate (ending abruptly in a short sharp point) at the apex, and measure 14–25 by 4.4–10.5 μm. The cheilocystidia (cystidia on the gill edge) are variable in shape, and measure 14–40 by 4.4–7.7 μm.[10] Pleurocystidia are relatively sparse, while cheilocystidia are abundant. Clamp connections are present in the hyphae. The application of a drop of potassium hydroxide solution turns both the cap and the stem from brown to blackish.[4]

Similar species[edit]

The species Psilocybe subyungensis, known only from Venezuela, is roughly similar in form, although somewhat smaller, with a cap width of up to 1 cm (0.4 in) in diameter and stem lengths of up to 3.5 cm (1.4 in). In addition to differences in distribution, it can be clearly distinguished from P. yungensis by the larger cystidia: the pleurocystidia measure 8.8–11 by 3.8–5.5 μm, and the cheilocystidia 16.5–25 by 7.7–12 μm.[11] Stamets notes that "Few species resemble P. yungensis", while Michael Beug considers the orangish-brown cap color unusual for a Psilocybe, and compares it to Conocybe.[12]

Habitat and distribution[edit]

Psilocybe yungensis is a saprobic species, and contributes to the degradation of organic matter deposited in soils and nutrient cycling in forests where it grows.[13] It typically grows in clusters or groups on rotting wood (rarely on humus); it is less frequently found growing solitarily. It is often reported from coffee plantations, subtropical, or cloud forests, especially those occurring at elevations between 1,000 and 2,000 m (3,300 and 6,600 ft). The species occurs in northeast, central and southeastern Mexico, and has been recorded from several locations in the states of Oaxaca, Puebla, Tamaulipas and Veracruz.[4][14] It is also known from Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador,[10] as well as the Caribbean island Martinique.[2] In 2009, it was reported from China.[15] In Mexico and Colombia, the fungus usually fruits between June and July; in Bolivia, it was recorded appearing during January.[4]


The fruit bodies of Psilocybe yungensis are used for entheogenic, or spiritual, ritualistic purposes by the Mazatec Indians in the Mexican State of Oaxaca.[16] Some authorities have suggested that P. yungensis is the "tree fungus" reported by Jesuit missionaries of the 17th and 18th centuries, a reddish mushroom that was apparently the source of an intoxicating beverage used by the Yurimagua Indians of Amazonian Peru. There is, however, no established record of hallucinogenic mushroom use in that area,[17][18] and it is possible that the mushroom could instead be a psychedelic species of the wood-dwelling genus Gymnopilus.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Guzmán G (1978). "Further investigations of the Mexican hallucinogenic mushrooms with descriptions of new taxa and critical observations on additional taxa". Nova Hedwigia. 29: 625–44. 
  2. ^ a b c Guzmán G, Allen JW, Gartz J (2000). "A worldwide geographical distribution of the neurotropic fungi, an analysis and discussion" (PDF). Annali del Museo Civico di Rovereto: Sezione Archeologia, Storia, Scienze Naturali. 14: 189–280. 
  3. ^ Ramírez-Cruz, Virginia; Guzmán, Gastón; Guzmán-Dávalos, Laura (2013). "Type studies of Psilocybe sensu lato (Strophariaceae, Agaricales)". Sydowia. 65: 277–319. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Guzmán (1983), pp. 150–2.
  5. ^ Singer R, Smith AH (1958). "New species of Psilocybe". Mycologia. 50 (1): 141–2. doi:10.2307/3756045. 
  6. ^ Singer R, Smith AH (1958). "Mycological investigations on teonanácatl, the Mexican hallucinogenic mushroom. Part II. A taxonomic monograph of Psilocybe, section Caerulescentes". Mycologia. 50 (2): 262–303. doi:10.2307/3756197. JSTOR 3756197. 
  7. ^ Heim R. (1959). Revue Mycologie (in French). 24: 106.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Singer R. (1958). "Fungi Mexicani, series secunda – Agaricales". Sydowia. 12 (1–6): 221–43. 
  9. ^ Guzmán (1983), p. 106.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Stamets P. (1996). Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World: An Identification Guide. Berkeley, California: Ten Speed Press. pp. 168–9. ISBN 0-89815-839-7. 
  11. ^ Guzmán G. (1978). "The species of Psilocybe known from Central and South America". Mycotaxon. 7 (2): 225–55 (see p. 249). 
  12. ^ Beug M. (2011). "The genus Psilocybe in North America" (PDF). Fungi Magazine. 4 (3): 6–17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-31. 
  13. ^ Guzmán (1983), p. 22.
  14. ^ Guzmán G. (1988). "Hallucinogenic mushrooms of the genus Psilocybe new-record in Mexico and analysis of the distribution of the known species". Revista Mexicana de Micologia (in Spanish). 4: 255–66. ISSN 0187-3180. 
  15. ^ Bau T. (2009). "Strophariaceae of China. (IV). Psilocybe". Journal of Fungal Research (in Chinese). 7 (1): 14–36. ISSN 1672-3538. 
  16. ^ Guzmán G. (2008). "Hallucinogenic mushrooms in Mexico: an overview". Economic Botany. 62 (3): 404–12. doi:10.1007/s12231-008-9033-8. 
  17. ^ Schultes RE. (1966). "The search for new natural hallucinogens" (PDF). Lloydia. 29 (4): 293–308. 
  18. ^ Schultes RE. (1969). "Hallucinogens of plant origin". Science. 163 (3864): 245–54. doi:10.1126/science.163.3864.245. JSTOR 1725088. 
  19. ^ Gartz J. (1996). Magic Mushrooms Around the World. A Scientific Journey Across Cultures and Time. Los Angeles, California: LIS Publishers. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-9653399-0-2. 

Cited text[edit]

  • Guzmán G. (1983). The Genus Psilocybe: A Systematic Revision of the Known Species Including the History, Distribution, and Chemistry of the Hallucinogenic Species. Beihefte Zur Nova Hedwigia. Heft 74. Vaduz, Liechtenstein: J. Cramer. ISBN 978-3-7682-5474-8. 

External links[edit]