T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Psilocybe cyanescens (Gold top)

Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Strophariaceae
Genus: Psilocybe
Species: P. cyanescens
Binomial name: Psilocybe cyanescens
Common names: Wavy caps, Gold tops, Copper tops.

Psilocybe cyanescens is a potent hallucinogen that grows abundantly in flowerbeds mulched with bark mulch, wood shavings, sawdust and cow manure. It is found world wide. Fruiting occurs from late summer in watered areas to mid-winter. 

This mushroom has extreme psychological reactions including that of extreme fear. The other hazard is that people have died mistaking the deadly Galerina, Conocybe or Inocybe fungi for the highly similar Psilocybe cyanescens, Psilocybe stuntzii or Psilocybe baeocystis. The main compounds responsible for its psychedelic effects are psilocybin and psilocin.
Psilocybe cyanescens has a hygrophanous pileus (cap) that is caramel to chestnut-brown when moist, fading to pale buff or slightly yellowish when dried. Caps generally measure from 1.5–5 cm across, and are normally distinctly wavy in maturity.
The gills are adnate (joined by having grown together) to seceding, they are close when young, subdistant in age, pale cinnamon brown, becoming dark grey-brown, edges lighter than the faces, mottled from spores at maturity.
The stipe (stalk) is 3-6 cm tall, 3-6 mm thick but sometimes enlarged at the base, the latter with conspicuous thickened mycelium (rhizomorphs). The stipe’s surface is white, smooth to silky.
The spore print is purple-brown to purple-grey.