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Psilocybe cyanescens

Psilocybe cyanescens

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Homobasidiomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Strophariaceae
Genus: Psilocybe
Species: P. cyanescens
Binomial name
Psilocybe cyanescens

Range of Psilocybe cyanescens
Psilocybe cyanescens
mycological characteristics:
gills on hymenium

cap is flat


hymenium is adnate or subdecurrent


stipe is bare


spore print is blackish-brown or purple


ecology is saprophytic


edibility: psychoactive

For information on the effects of this mushroom see the Psilocybin article.

Wavy cap or Caramel-capped psilocybe (Psilocybe cyanescens Wakef.) is a potent psychedelic mushroom whose main active compounds are psilocybin and psilocin. It belongs to the family Strophariaceae in the order Agaricales. It was described from Kew Gardens, United Kingdom, by E. M. Wakefield in the 1940s. It is one of the most popular psychoactive fungi. There are two concepts of this species as Psilocybe cyanescens Wakef. emend. Krieglst. (Krieglsteiner 1984) and Psilocybe cyanescens Wakef. sensu stricto (Borovička 2005). The most related species is Psilocybe azurescens Stamets & Gartz which differs by conical and acutely umbonated pileus, mottled stipe with remains of veil building a well-developed fibrillose annular zone, large fruit bodies and somewhat longer spores. Some European (EU) or Australian (AU) species are close to Psilocybe cyanescens, especially Psilocybe serbica (EU), Psilocybe arcana (EU), Psilocybe moravica (EU), Psilocybe aucklandii (AU), Psilocybe eucalypta (AU) and others.



Psilocybe cyanescens has a hygrophanous pileus that is fawn-brown or chestnut-brown when moist, fading to pale ochraceous or slightly yellowish. It bruises with a bluish or blue-green color, often still visible on dried stipe. Cap is usually 2-5 cm across, distinctly wavy in maturity. Lamellae adnate to sligtly subdecurrent, chocolate brown or ochraceous in maturity, with white edge. Fibrillose annular zone on stipe is absent. Microscopically, this species is characterized by common clavate-mucronate pleurocystidia.


Habitat and distribution

Psilocybe cyanescens grows on woody debris - in the presence of woodchips and mulched plant beds (particularly under rhododendrons). In the U.S., P. cyanescens occurs mainly in the Pacific Northwest, south to northern California. It can be found as well as in Western and Central Europe. This species was likely introduced to Europe, where it occurs mainly in cemeteries, botanic gardens and city parks.



Legal status

Possession and/or cultivation of this species is illegal in a number of countries, including the United States.

Psilocybin mushrooms are not specifically named in the U.S.A. federal scheduling system, however their two primary active chemicals Psilocybin and Psilocin are both Schedule I in the United States. This means they are illegal to manufacture, buy, possess, or distribute (sell, trade or give) without a DEA license. Fresh and dried psilocybin mushrooms are considered containers of Psilocybin and Psilocin, making them illegal to possess as well.

Because spores contain no psilocybin or psilocin, they are legal to sell and possess (in all states except California, Georgia and Idaho[1]). But in most states, it is illegal to cultivate or propagate spores into mycelium since mycelium generally contains both psilocybin and psilocin.

Some states in the U.S. and some countries have ruled that growing psilocybe mushrooms does not qualify as 'manufacturing' a controlled substance (psilocybin).[2]


  • Stamets, Paul (1993). Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press. ISBN 1-58008-175-4. 
  • Stamets, Paul; Chilton, J.S. (1983). Mushroom Cultivator, The. Olympia: Agarikon Press. ISBN 0-9610798-0-0. 
  • Stamets, Paul (1996). Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press. ISBN 0-9610798-0-0. 
  • Krieglsteiner G. J. (1984): Studien zum Psilocybe cyanescens-Komplex in Europa. – Beitr. Kenntn. Pilze Mitteleur. 1: 61-94.
  • Borovička J. (2005): The bluing Psilocybe species of the Czech Republic IV. The problem of Psilocybe cyanescens Wakef. Mykologický Sborník 82 (1): 1-21. ISSN 0374-9436.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Psilocybe_cyanescens". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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