|lose relative of Mexico's
psychoactive species, Psilocybe semilanceata is
a mushroom whose physical appearance
resembles Psilocybe semperviva Heim &
Cailleux and Psilocybe
Stalks generally single, sometimes clustered, from two to four inches in
height, the thickness of a goose quill, thread shaped whitish almost solid, the
tube being very small, glutinous; ring, a little below the cap, scarce
“ Cap, from one to two inches in breadth, of a brown color; in the full. grown
ones hemispherical, always convex, and more or lets glutinous; wet with
rain, it becomes browner and transparent,'so that it sometimes appears
“ Gills numerous, single, of a brownish purple color, clouded; whole ones
about twenty, horizontal, three shorter ones placed betwixt them; they throw
out a powder of a brownish purple color."
With respect to the use of it, he only says, « There is nothing acrimonious or
disagreeable in its taste, yet its appearance will not recommend it to the
lovers of mushrooms."
Figure 9 - Drawing and description of Psilocybe semilanceata by J. Sowerby (London, 1803).
1733. A. semilanceatus Fries (Observ. II. pag. 178).
Synon. : Agaricus semiglobatus Sowerby (Engl. Fungi taf. 240.
fig. 1-3). Hut etwas hautig, spitz kegelfdrmig, fast zugespitzt, 11/2 Cent.
breit, 1/2 Cent. hock, feucht klebrig, fein streifig, gelb oder grunlich,
zah, mit Anfangs umgeknicktem Rande und leicht trennbarer Oberhaut.
Stiel zah, gebogen, 11 Cent. hock, kahl, blass. Lamellen angeheftet,
aufsteigend, purpur-schwarz. Sporen ellptisch, hellbraun, 9 -16 u
lang, 4 - 9 u dick.
Ax Wegen, auf Grasphitzen, besonders wo Mist gelegen hat.
spitzkegeliger Kahlkopf (Psilocybe semilanceata). Kegel-glockenformig mit
papilenertiger spitze Hut-o,5-1 cm breit, bis 2cm hock, lehmfarben mit olivgrunem
Stich, klebrig. Lamellen breit, oliv-lehmfarben, spater purpurbraun.
Stiel schlank, glanzend. - Gedungte Wiesen, Wegrander. Stellenweise.
Figure 10 - Two descriptions of Psilocybe semilanceata from the German-language
literature. The first description (top) was written over a hundred years ago, while the
second one (bottom) dates to 1962. Significantly, the more recent entry classifies the
species as "essentially worthless". Also see Figure 11.
mexicana Heim. Like Psilocybe semilanceata, these
Mexican species thrive in meadows and pastures.
Another common trait among these species is the
rather subdued and subtle quality of their bluing
reaction. Recognition of these similarities with
Mexican species sparked the curiosity of scientists
who wanted to learn more about Europe's
Psilocybe species. A research team that included
A. Hofmann and R. Heim began to study samples
of Psilocybe semilanceata, in collaboration with C.
Furrer, a mycologist who examined fruiting bodies
collected in Switzerland and France. By 1963,
paper chromatography testing had yielded data of
historic significance. For the first time, scientists
Most users of the psychoactive visionary mushrooms have very little knowledge of their scientific names. Instead, they have given their favorite species local epithets which are commonly used by those who collect and ingest them. Some of these popular names are also known and applied by users outside of Australia and NZ. "Magic Mushrooms" is the most common term applied to any mushroom which contains psilocybine and/or psilocine. It was invented by a Life Magazine editor in l957 ( see Wasson, l957). Psilocybe cubensis is known in Australia as "golden tops", "gold tops" or sometimes "gold caps." The Australian epithets may have been given to this species by members of a local, drugusing group of surfers which frequented the Gold Coast region of Eastern Australia; however, some of these names have apparently been used to describe several different species of Psilocybe by users in Australia (see Allen, 1997). As mentioned above, Psilocybe cubensis is not known to occur in New Zealand. Those who ingest Copelandia cyanescens, known in Australia and New Zealand as "blue meanies", also refer to this species as "Blue Legs", "golden tops" or "gold caps". The latter two nicknames, as well as "dimple tops" and "cone heads", are common terms applied to Copelandia cyanescens in the Hawaiian Islands; and some of these same popular names have also been used by visiting surfers from both New Zealand and Australia, to describe the macroscopic characteristics of Copelandia cyanescens. These same surfers visiting Hawaii's North Shore have reportedly ingested mushrooms prior to surfing, as do many of the locally based surfers in Australia and NZ.