Psilocybe tampanensis is an incredibly rare fungus, only being found in the wild a small number of times, near Florida in the Southeastern United States. Despite its rarity, this is one of the most consumed species of Psilocybe, owing to its propensity to form “magic truffles” or “Philosopher’s Stones”.
The original sample of P. tampanensis was collected in 1977 from a sand dune in Tampa, Florida, which gave this species its name. Pollock, a renowned mycologist, was skipping a day of meetings at a nearby conference when he decided to go for a walk among the dunes. While this would be the first, last and only time this mushroom was found in Florida, the original specimen was carefully cloned and cultivated by Pollock back in his lab.
This species shares a rare trait with a few of its close Psilocybe relatives (P. mexicana, P. caerulescens), and with some species of other genera. These fungi form hard, truffle-like “sclerotia” under certain conditions; they arise in the wild as a protection from forest fires and other ecological disasters. Pollock was able to induce this phenomena in his sample taken from Florida, the first time sclerotia were grown from a Psilocybe species in the lab.
At the time, Pollock did not recognize the importance this finding would have on the future of magic mushrooms. “Magic truffles” have since become the driving force in the European recreational use of psychoactive fungi (See P. atlantis). Their legality in certain jurisdictions, coupled with expert cultivation leading to consistent and honed potency, has made “Philosopher’s Stones” a popular and safe method of consumption.
Among the line-up of popular species found in the Smartshops of Holland, P. tampanensis is considered in the lower, milder tiers of potency. This has made them a top seller for those new to psychoactive experiences, or tourists looking to “enhance” their holiday yet remain able to explore and stay grounded. While ten grams of fresh sclerotia is considered a moderate dose, they can be variable in their potency.
The size and age of truffles is a general indicator of potency. Many small, indicating young, truffles are likely to be milder. Large, or a mix of large and small, stones generally are found in older harvests known to be more potent. A discussion with the vendor should guide your choice, as they will have additional information on a given batch.
While the potency of P. tampanensis may be variable, their flavour is a uniquely intense experience. They frequently have a bitter taste that is similar to a walnut, though their freshness and humidity can dictate the pungency and texture. This can be partially combated by their mixture with honey, applesauce, chocolate, or other pleasantly-flavoured vehicles.
Unfortunately, little observations have been made on the flavour profile given age, size, or other characteristics. P. tampanensis is grown both commercially and recreationally in similar ways, meant to maximize consistency and potency. A substrate of rye-grass or dry straw will present a first flush of sclerotia within three to twelve weeks after mycelium transplant.
P. tampanensis has been taken from a dune in Florida to Smartshops around the world and online. Though infrequently encountered as a mushroom, the species is among the most popular due to a quirk of its nature.