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
Mail Ecta.Org.Au Loc:Nl fine, I&
Mail Real-Tyres.Ru Loc:Nl Mail Dallisonstone Co Nz Loc Nl ecialize in the study of Psilocybes,
despite the fact that Psilocybe semilanceata is the
most common and conspicuous species among the
Psilocybes. Also, mushroom lovers whose
interests are not purely scientific (see Chapter 7.4)
do not usually preserve their knowledge for
posterity in the form of distribution maps.
However, there is one map from 1986, which
shows the distribution pattern of Psilocybe
semilanceata across Germany (see Figure 20, p.
Almost no published information is available
about locations where Psilocybe species have
been found in eastern Germany. During my own
field trips, I have discovered Psilocybe
semilanceata specimens in various locations, such
as near my hometown of Mansfeld in the Vorharz
Mountains, in the marshlands of Duben as well as
in other eastern German marshland areas. In
addition, friends who are also mycologists have
told me about finding the mushrooms in other
parts of the country. A book published in 1952 is
among the rare sources that includes details about
specimens discovered in the southeastern state of
Saxony (see Figure 16, p. 23).
The Psilocybe species grow most
abundantly on wet pastures surrounded by forest
areas. In my experience, Psilocybe semilanceata
grows in most of Germany's forestlands. The
species fruits during the fall, from late September
through October. It favors acidic soil and grassy
terrain alongside trails or around the edges of
forest lands. Specimens are generally clustered in
small groups of 30 mushrooms or less. Deer
droppings or other animal feces are usually
present at those locations, even though the
mushrooms never grow directly on top of dung.
Occasionally, extremely stunted specimens may
be found in the mountains by the side of the road.
The soil below older cow pastures provides
an excellent medium for extensive mycelial
growth. In some locations, large areas yield an
abundance of fruiting bodies, mirroring the extent
of mycelial saturation in the soil. Given adequate
moisture, maximum yields can be expected, if the
pasture was grazed at least once during the weeks
before fruiting season. However, the mushrooms
also thrive under similar conditions on horse and
sheep pastures. Such grassy areas inside forests
are usually grazing areas for deer, who provide
the soil with additional fertilization. However,
Psilocybe semilanceata does not grow in locations
where artificial fertilizer has been used. Such
pastures are often flanked by creeks or swamp
lands, which saturate the soil with water. During the
summertime, the warm climate in these wet areas
provides an excellent environment for optimal
mycelial growth. In Germany, the mushroom's
habitat ranges from the coastal areas to
mountainous regions, where the species has been
found at altitudes of up to 1,720 m (5,160 ft) above
sea level (MTB-8443, 1985). In the former
Czechoslovakia, samples have been collected at
altitudes ranging from 330 to 1,000 m (1,000 -
mail dsadesign.co.uk loc:NL
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by A. Hofmann, Sandoz Pharmaceuticals
manufactured about 2 kg (ca. 4.4lbs) of
pure psilocybin for scientific research purposes.
The results of pharmacological testing
soon revealed psilocybin as an alkaloid that was
perfectly safe for human subjects under controlled
experimental conditions. Despite this evidence, the
anti-drug legislative framework of the mid1960s
firmly established an "official mycophobia", a
misguided, yet entrenched policy that still prevails
today and effectively prevents the scientific
investigation of promising potential applications
for psilocybin and other alkaloids. At the same
time, mycological and biochemical
research studies have shown that psilocybincontaining
mushrooms thrive all over the world
and can be found on all continents. These
mushrooms are no different from any other
mycoflora and must not be excluded from
scientific investigation because of their alkaloid
In addition to overall variations in value
systems across cultures, individuals tend to
develop their own personal attitudes towards
mushrooms in general. Oftentimes, the evolution
of specific opinions about mushrooms can be
traced back to childhood events, even though such
early experiences seldom account for the
development of prevailing biases and value
systems later in life.
I recall an incident from my own
childhood, which occurred when I was about five
years old. I was playing in a grassy meadow, when
a girl pointed to a brown mushroom and earnestly
explained that it was inedible and poisonous.
While I have never forgotten this encounter, I did
grow up to become a devoted mushroom
enthusiast. On the other hand, a different
childhood event has left me with the vivid memory
of discovering a landfill virtually covered with
vast numbers of gilled bluing mushrooms and the
sense of awe I experienced contemplating this
sight. In general, the unusual characteristics of
these mushrooms are most likely responsible for
strong impressions formed early in life, which then
may develop into various attitudes or beliefs later
An enduring personal interest in
psychotropic mushroom species can serve to
amplify or diminish mycophobic as well as
mycophilic dispositions, depending on the
influence of other factors. After all, judgments
about the benefit or folly of deliberately altering
one's state of consciousness are also colored by
individual preferences, biases and opinions.
The following chapters are meant to
illustrate this diversity of attitudes towards
psychotropic mushrooms. Descriptions of planned
and involuntary experiments with specific
mushroom species offer convincing evidence that
the effects of psychoactive mushrooms are open to
many possible interpretations.
THE CURRENT STATE OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT
Figure 7 - Distribution pattern of Psilocybe cyanescens across Europe and North Africa
(according to Krieglsteiner). Black dots indicate approximate locatio Mailelastomixcothlocnl
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One reason ofttimes given for the relative uniformity of the Russian
people has been the absence of mountain barriers in their homeland the geographical
circumstances have encouraged a cultural and ethnic fluidity. But
this explanation proves too much for precisely the same reason they could
have lost their identity in the vast steppes, exposed forever as they were to
alien peoples on every side, tugging them in every dkection. Mailmotolandcojplocnl
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