Dung-loving Psilocybe

The Psilocybe are a large genus of mushrooms containing some of the most sought-after hallucinogenic species as well as many little brown mushrooms with no “magic” properties at all. The dung-loving psilocybe (Psilocybe corprophila) is generally considered harmless. However, some strains may contain minute quantities of psilocybin, a hallucinogen, making this mushroom, if ingested in large quantities, mildly”active”.

As suggested by the common and species (copr = dung, phil = loving) names, the dung-loving psilocybe grows on cow or horse manure. It is a decomposer rather than a symbiont. Common throughout North America, fruiting occurs whenever there is moisture. A small amount of rainfall after months of drought created conditions that were damp enough along Ash Creek (Lassen County CA) for these dung-loving psilocybes to grow. Meadow muffin mushroom is another common name for P. corprophila.

Dung-loving mushrooms are very small (up to 2 cm across and 4 cm tall) with a convex, reddish brown cap. Moist caps are slimy or sticky. When young the cap margin has white patches that fade with age. The brownish gills are attached and distant (far apart). The white stalk darkens to brown as the mushroom matures. The veil (protective tissue around young fruiting body) is absent or rudimentary. When cut or bruised, dung-loving mushrooms do not turn blue.

I enjoy searching out mushrooms and fungi, but have never tried nor had the desire to experience their hallucinogenic properties. In fact, Leonard and I do not, except for a couple well-know species, eat wild mushrooms. (See “A Mushroom Tale” 11-22-2013)


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