SPECIES: Psilocybe cubensis (Earle) Singer
= Stropharia cubensis Earle
= Stropharia cyanescens Murr
= Stroparia caerulescens (Pat.) Sing
= Naematoloma caerulescens Pat
= Hypholoma caerulescens (Pat.) Sacc. & Trott
STRAINS: Strains of Psilocybe cubensis are available from private and commercial stocks. The American Type Culture Collection, which sells cultures to educational organizations and research facilities, has stock cultures of several wild strains. Note that the strains listed below are only some of those that are presently circulating. There are many more. Some strains may originate from the same region but have features not in agreement with those described here
Amazonian: Medium to large mushrooms on rye grain; thick whitish stems; tenaciously attached to the casing
Ecuadorian: Medium sized mushrooms on rye grain; hemispheric caps; abundant primordia former; high yielding on compost; thin whitish stems; easily picked
Matias Romero: Medium to large mushrooms on rye grain; early fruiter; thick whitish stems and tenaciously attached
Misantla: Medium sized mushrooms on rye grain; thin yellowish stems; tall standing and easily picked
Palenque: Large mushrooms on rye grain; high yielding; and easily picked
COMMON NAMES: San Isidro; Cubensis
GREEK ROOT: Psilocybe comes from the Greek root 'psilos' meaning bald head and cubensis, a name Earle assigned to this mushroom because it was first recognized as a new species from specimens collected in Cuba.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: A medium to large size mushroom having a cap that becomes convex to plane in age and is usually pigmented chestnut brown to deep yellowish or golden brown. The cap surface is finely fibrillose, sometimes covered with scattered, fugacious, cottony scales that soon disappear. The partial veil is membranous, well developed and typically leaving a persistent annulus on the upper regions of the stem. The stem is often longitudinally striate, powdered above the annulus and often covered with dense fibrils below. Flesh bruising bluish or bluish green Its spores purplish brown in mass.
NATURAL HABITAT: Naturally found in horse or cow pastures, in dung or in soil enriched with manure. Psilocybe cubensis is a widely distributed species that is found throughout tropical and subtropical zones of the world and is common in the pasturelands of the gulf coast of the southern United States and eastern Mexico.
COMMENTS: One of the easiest mushrooms to grow, this species fruits on a wide variety of substrates within broad environmental parameters. As a primary and secondary decomposer, Psilocybe cubensis fruits well on untreated pasteurized straw and on horse manure/straw composts transformed by microbial activity. Sterilized grain typically produces smaller mushrooms than bulk substrates. Given the numerous substrates that support fruitings, Psilocybe cubensis is well suited for home cultivation. Psilocybe cubensis cultivation was unheard of twenty years ago. Today, this species ranks among one of the most commonly cultivated mushrooms in the US and soon the world. This sudden escalation in interest is largely due to the publication of several popular guides illustrating techniques for its culture. Psilocybe cubensis is a mushroom with psychoactive properties, containing up to 1% psilocybin and/or psilocin per dried gram. The function of these serotonin-like compounds in the life cycle of the mushroom is not known
GENETIC CHARACTERISTICS: Basidia tetrapolar (4-spored), forming haploid spores (1N); heterothallic. The mating of compatible monokaryons often results in fruiting strains. Clamp connections are present. See Chapter XV
For Further Information Consult: Oss, O.T. and O.N. Oeric, 1976. 'Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower's Guide'. And/Or Press, Berkeley.