Thursday, 6 December 2012

Psilocybe hoogshagenii

Psilocybe hoogshagenii is species of psilocybin mushroom in the Strophariaceae family. The mushroom has a brownish conical or bell-shaped cap up to 3 cm (1.2 in) wide that has an extended papilla up to 4 mm long. The stem is slender (up to 3 mm thick) and 5 to 9 cm (2.0 to 3.5 in) long. The variety P. hoogshagenii var. convexa lacks the long papilla.
The species is found in Mexico, where it grows singly or in small groups in clayey soils in subtropical coffee plantations, and from Colombia and Brazil in South America. The mushroom contains the psychedelic compounds psilocybin and psilocin, and all parts will stain blue or bluish black when handled or injured. P. hoogshagenii is used for divinatory purposes by some indigenous groups in Mexico.


The species was first described scientifically by French mycologist Roger Heim in 1958. It was one of several species described and illustrated in the popular American weekly magazine Life ("Seeking the Magic Mushroom"), in which R. Gordon Wasson recounted the psychedelic visions that he experienced during the divinatory rituals of the Mixtec people, thereby introducing psilocybin mushrooms to Western popular culture;it was however, mislabeled as Psilocybe zaptecorum. Similarly, Psilocybe specialist Gastón Guzmán suggests that P. zapotecorum, as described by Rolf Singer in 1958,is misidentified as it agrees well with the type of P. hoogshagenii. The species Psilocybe caerulipes var. gastonii, described by Singer in 1958,is a synonym of P. hoogshagenii.
The species is named in honor of American anthropologist Searle Hoogshagen, who helped Heim and Wasson in their search for entheogenic mushrooms in Mexico. The mushroom is known locally by several common names. In Spanish, it is called los niños or los Chamaquitos ("the little boys"), in Mazatec as pajarito


The cap ranges in shape from conical to bell-shaped to convex, reaching diameters of 0.7–3 in (18–76 mm), although a range of 1–2.5 cm (0.4–1.0 in) is most usual. It has a long, sharp papilla that is up to 4 mm (0.16 in). The cap surface is smooth, somewhat sticky when wet, and often has ridges extending halfway to the center of the cap. Its color is reddish brown to orangish brown to yellowish, and it is hygrophanous, fading when dry to a straw or fulvous color. The brownish gills have an adnate to adnexed attachment to the stem; mature gills become purplish black because of the spores. The hollow stem measures 50 to 90 mm (2.0 to 3.5 in) long by 1–3 mm thick. It is roughly equal in width throughout its length or slightly thicker at the base, and sometimes twisted. A thin rudimentary cortina-like partial veil covers the gills of immature fruit bodies, but it is fragile and disappears soon after the cap expands. The flesh in the cap is whitish, but more yellow in the stem. Both the odor and taste of the mushroom are farinaceous (similar to freshly ground flour). As is characteristic of psilocybin mushrooms, all parts of the fruit body bruise blue when handled or injured. P. hoogshagenii var. convexa lacks an acute papilla, although it occasionally has a small, rounded papilla. Its cap ranges in width from 0.5–1.5 cm (0.20–0.59 in), and it is convex to roughly bell-shaped. All other macroscopic and microscopic features are identical to the type variety.
The spore print is dark purplish brown. Spores are rhomboid or nearly so in face view, and more or less ellipsoid when viewed from the side. They are thick-walled, with dimensions of 6.5–4–5.6 μm, and feature a broad germ pore. The basidia (spore-bearing cells) are usually four-spored, hyaline (translucent), roughly cylindrical or with a central constriction, and measure 12–22 by 5.5–9 μm. Pleurocystidia (cystidia on the gill face) are relatively abundant; they are ventricose (swollen), club-shaped or irregularly shaped, measuring 16–36 by 8–12 μm. The cheilocystidia (cystidia on the gill edge) are also abundant. They are 19–35 by 4.4–6.6 μm, lageniform (flask-shaped), narrowing into a long neck with a width of 1–3 μm, and either acute or somewhat capitate (ending in a roughly globular tip). Clamp connections are present in the hyphae.