Psilocybin- and psilocin-containing mushrooms found in British Columbia
Psilocybe azurescens Stamets & Gartz
This species originates from around Astoria Oregon where it grows from driftwood among beach grasses in the sand dunes around the mouth of the Columbia River. It is easily cultivated in outdoor chip beds and has been introduced into the Lower Mainland of BC. It is considered very potent and exhibits very strong blue staining where bruised or in age.
Psilocybe baeocystis Singer & A.H. Sm.
This was a very common urban weed mushroom in residential and institutional landscaping, where it was especially associated with conifer bark chips used as mulches. Around Vancouver it was most abundant in the 1980’s but has virtually disappeared from developed urban settings since then. It still occurs in the interface areas of suburban developments with adjacent forested or agricultural lands. Psilocybe baeocyst is very potent and stains darkly blue.
Psilocybe cyanescens Wakef.
Known as “Wavy Caps” these often grow in recently landscaped areas where woodchips have been incorporated into soils and mulches and it is especially fond of alder chips. Fairly long term and stable populations may grow in disused clearings that have grown in with alder trees, broom and Rubus plants such as Blackberries and other brambles.
Psilocybe cyanofibrillosa Guzmán & Stamets
This mushroom is found rarely growing in tangled roots of shrubs and trees along flood zones of wild mountain rivers. It has also been found in landscaped areas in woodchip mulches.
Psilocybe fimetaria (P.D. Orton) Watling
This European mushroom has appeared occasionally in grassy fields and grazed pastures in the Lower Mainland. It resembles the common weed mushroom Psilocybe stuntzii in having a membranous ring on its stem.
Psilocybe pelliculosa (A.H. Sm.) Singer & A.H. Sm.
These are little brown mushrooms (or LBMs) that grow in conifer debris and litter along trails and logging roads in second growth forest lands. They may also be found in landscaped areas in conifer mulch. It is a low potency species that resembles many other LBMs of the forest, including some potentially poisonous Galerina species. Eating this mushroom is not recommended.
Psilocybe semilanceata (Fr.) P. Kumm.
The Liberty Cap is the iconic Magic Mushroom of British Columbia. It grows from dead grass roots and is especially common in wet pastures where the grass roots form a heavy thatch. It can thrive in grazed fields but is not associated with animal dung. It can also grow in lawns and playing fields in wet coastal areas. Many magic mushroom enthusiasts consider this the most “user friendly” of our mushrooms.
Psilocybe stuntzii Guzmán & J. Ott
This is a common weed species of urban and suburban landscapes sometimes growing in large quantities in recently established lawns and plantings in woodchip mulch or where the soils contain woody materials. This mushroom is very low in potency and closely resembles some deadly Galerina species which often grow in the same habitat. Eating this mushroom is not recommended.
Psilocybe subfimetaria Guzmán & A.H. Sm.
This species closely resembles the Liberty Cap but lacks the exaggerated pointy nipple typical of Psilocybe semilanceata and has a heavy zone of veil fibrils around the stem. Psilocybe subfimetaria was first discovered in Vancouver in 1976 and also grows in Washington and Oregon. It may be the same as Psilocybe sierra which is found in Chile or merely a distinct form of Psilocybe semilanceata.
Conocybe cyanopus (G.F. Atk.) Kühner
These delicate and tiny mushrooms grow in wet mossy lawns during wet summers and warm early fall. Because some related Conocybe mushrooms contain deadly toxins, eating these is not recommended
Gymnopilus aeruginosus (Peck) Singer
These are big brightly coloured and bitter tasting mushrooms that grow on wood
Panaeolus subbalteatus (Berk. & Broome) Sacc. = Panaeolus cinctulus (Bolton) Sacc.
This mushroom grows in very rich manured soils of newly laid lawns and landscaping. and can also be found in old leached horse manure and rotting straw around stables.