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Psilocybe Cyanescens (Wavy Cap Mushrooms) – All the Info You Need

Psilocybe Cyanescens
Psilocybe Cyanescens

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Psilocybe cyanescens are popularly known as the wavy caps mushroom. It is one of many species of mushrooms known as “magic mushrooms,” due to their psychedelic effects.  Wavy caps mushrooms are noted for their high psilocybin content and potency.

These mushrooms are found in moderate wet climates and are especially common in Northwestern Europe and the United Kingdom, and in the Pacific Northwest section of North America.

Important Disclaimer

Below we will give some tips on how to identify wavy cap mushrooms.  But the information we provide below is only a starting point. If you don’t have experience hunting for mushrooms, buy a detailed guide.  And be sure to go hunting with an experienced forager.  NEVER consume any mushroom unless you are absolutely sure of its identity.  Every year people die after consuming poisonous mushrooms.  And with some species, just one mushroom is enough to kill you.

Also, in many areas mushrooms containing psilocybin remain illegal, and penalties for possession are severe.  Make sure that you are aware of the laws in your region before picking one of these mushrooms.

Here is a detailed look at the psilocybe cyanescens, or wavy cap mushroom.

Appearance

Caps

The color of the wavy mushroom caps ranges from light to medium brown when the mushroom is growing. The mushroom fades to cream or yellowish when dried. The caps bruise easily and will turn bluish greenish if bruised.

The caps are usually a half-inch to 2 inches across. They start as convex-shaped but flatten out and then become wavy as they mature. They are slimy and shiny when wet. The cap margin is thick, and it hangs loosely over the gills.

psilocybe cyanescens
This image was created by user Alan Rockefeller (Alan Rockefeller) at Mushroom Observer, a source for mycological images. You can contact this user here. – This image is Image Number 290262 at Mushroom Observer, a source for mycological images.

Gills

Psilocybe cyanescens gills are moderately crowded and loosely attached to the stem. The gills of a young wavy mushroom are pale, but they start to develop dark spots as the mushroom ages before turning a dark shade of purple. However, the edges of the gills remain brown throughout the lifetime of the mushroom. Like the caps, they turn bluish when bruised.

Stem

The stems of the Psilocybe Cyanescens are about a quarter-inch wide and grow between 1.5 and 3 inches tall. The stem is chalk white, circular, and fibrous. Some wavy mushrooms have a stem that is wider at the top and narrower in the middle. When the partial veil of the mushroom sheds, it leaves an evanescent ring on the stem.

Spores

Its spores are smooth and ellipsoidal. Deposited Psilocybe Cyanescens pores are dark purple or brownish.

Odor

Wavy mushrooms have no distinct odor.

Habitat

They mainly grow in places rich in ligneous material such as on mulchy areas, coniferous woods, leaf litter, or sawdust. They can also be found in mulched gardens and plant beds. Mostly, they fruit in lower temperatures, such as during fall. They can grow solitarily but have also been found in large clusters.

Geographical Distribution

Psilocybe cyanescens is believed to have originated in Central Europe. Over the years, they have spread across the globe but are mainly found in Central and Western Europe,

The wavy cap mushrooms found in the Pacific Northwest are actually a very closely related species called psilocybe allenil.  Psilocybe allenil and psilocybe cyanescens are so similar that their differences can only be determined with a microscope.  They both have the same psychedelic effects.  Therefore, mushroom foragers consider both species to be wavy cap mushrooms.

Palatability

While not considered to be poisonous, these mushrooms contain large amounts of psilocybin.  They are highly potent and will take you on a trip.

If parboiled, the psychoactive compounds are rendered inactive, However, they are bitter, so most people opt not to eat them.

Effects of Consuming Psilocybe Cyanescens Mushrooms

Like other psilocybin mushrooms, consuming wavy cap mushrooms will take you on a psychedelic trip. Whether or not the trip will be good varies from one individual to another. Like other psychedelics, the effects of consuming psilocybe cyanescens vary according to user.

Some users have reported positive effects including a feeling of calm and bliss, and having profound thoughts. On the other hand, commonly reported negative effects of consuming magic mushrooms include intense emotions, hallucinations, excessive sweating, dilated pupils, stomach upset, and delusionality.

Potency

Psilocybe cyanescens have different types of Indole alkaloids, including psilocybin, psilocin, and baeocystin. The Indole alkaloids levels vary depending on where the mushrooms are growing. Reportedly, North American wavy cap mushrooms have higher levels than their European counterparts.

Psilocybe cyanescens psilocybin levels range between 0.39-0.66% while their psilocin content ranges between 0.75%-1.96%.  This is higher than most other psilocybin mushrooms, hence wavy caps are recognized as one of the most highly potent psilocybin mushrooms.

Cultivating Psilocybe Cyanescens Mushrooms

While some mushroom enthusiasts have been able to successfully grow psilocybe cyanescens mushrooms, it can be challenging to meet the necessary conditions for growing them indoors. However, under the right climatic conditions, they easily grow outdoors.

In either case, psilocybe cyanescens mushrooms record low yields. Better yields have been achieved by propagating mycelium via stem butt transplantation and then transplanting. The cultivated psilocybe cyanescens mushrooms have the same levels of psilocin and psilocybin as the naturally occurring ones.

The Legality of Psilocybe Cyanescens

The legality of psilocybe cyanescens varies greatly across the globe. For instance, in New Zealand, Ireland, Croatia, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Japan, and Germany, psilocybe cyanescens and other magic mushrooms are banned.

In most US states, psilocybin mushrooms are banned except in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Denver, Colorado.  The California cities of Santa Cruz and Oakland have decriminalized magic mushrooms. In countries such as Samoa, Brazil, Nepal, and Jamaica, cultivation and psilocybe cyanescens mushrooms are allowed. In Spain, cultivation for personal use is allowed.

Furthermore, the UN Convention on Psychotropic substances bans the use, possession, and trafficking of Schedule 1 drugs under which psychedelics are regulated. However, it does not have a provision for naturally occurring psychedelics such as psilocybe cyanescens mushrooms.

Regulations are constantly being updated, so check your region’s laws before picking one of these mushrooms.

Psilocybe Cyanescens lookalikes

If you are interested in foraging for wild wavy cap mushrooms, it is important to know that there are several lookalikes, and at least one is highly poisonous.

Below is a look at some of the top psilocybe cyanescens lookalikes and their distinguishing characteristics.

Galerina Marginata

The galerina marginata is a highly poisonous wavy cap lookalike. They are both brown, and both turn yellowish when dried.   Adding to the danger, galerina marginata mushrooms grow in similar condition and have actually been found growing among wavy caps,

There are reliable ways to differentiate the two types of mushrooms, but if you are not familiar with mushrooms, do not forage for wavy caps on your own.  Be sure to hunt with an experienced mushroom forager who can teach you to tell the difference.  People have died from eating galerina marginata by mistake, so foragers need to be very cautious about this look-alike.

Pholiotina Rugosa

The philiotina rugosa is another highly poisonous lookalike. It contains amatoxins that destroy the liver leading to death.

As with the galerina marginata, There are ways to reliably differentiate these two types of mushrooms, but if you are not familiar with mushrooms, do not forage for wavy caps on your own.  Be sure to hunt with an experienced mushroom forager who can teach you to tell the difference.  People have died from eating galerina marginata by mistake, so foragers need to be very cautious about this look-alike.

Tubaria Furfuracea

Similar to wavy cap mushrooms, the tubaria furfuracea can be found on wood chips. While it is not poisonous, it is not considered to be edible due to its unpleasant taste. Unlike the wavy caps, which have chalk-whitish stems, the stems of the tubaria furfuracea are brownish like the rest of the mushroom.

The tubaria furfuracea mushroom stems are rather delicate and break easily as they do not bend, unlike wavy caps, whose stems are more malleable. The tubaria furfuracea has an orange-brownish spore print.

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