Psilocybe villarrealiae

  • Only found in the subtropical forests of Jalisco, Mexico
  • Similar or lower potency to P. cubensis, mainly psilocybin
  • Grows in clumps, can be up to 12 cm across and tall
  • Long fruiting season. Prefers muddy soil, cultivation on sawdust

Psilocybe villarrealiae is a relatively unknown species, only described by science in 1998 and with a highly restricted range to only one state of Mexico. Its discovery was further delayed due to it being one of the least common of the seven Psilocybe mushrooms found in Jalisco, Mexico.

This species was ignored for years, as its potency is similar or less than the much more popular P. cubensis. This is primarily from psilocybin, with only trace amounts of psilocin and baeocystin. As with many other Psilocybe, the relative quantity of alkaloids increases as the size of the mushroom decreases. This suggests caution in dosing with very small fruiting bodies.

However, these mushrooms are some of the largest in the entire genus, with caps spanning up to 12 centimetres. They are generally conic or bell-shaped, becoming convex or flat with age. The edges are sometimes wavy, and the tan or walnut-brown cap frequently has an umbo.

The stipe can be equally large, from 3 to 12 centimetres in height, though still relatively slender at 3 to 7 millimetres wide. It ranges from a reddish-brown to grey-yellow, though usually becomes darker with age and size. The bottom half is commonly covered in fine hairs or “fibrils” of aerial mycelium.

Though P. villarrealiae is so large, it can still be difficult to find in the humid and shaded undergrowth of subtropical forests. A find will be rewarded though, as these mushrooms rarely grow alone, often found in dense clumps in muddy soil. Their prefered habitat, and a good starting point if searching, is near creeks and ravines in Pine and Oak forests.

P. villarrealiae has one claim to fame in its region, it is often the first Psilocybe to appear in “mushroom season”, and can be the last one remaining at the end. It usually follows the rainy season in Mexico, as early as May and lasting until October. If cultivated outdoors, easily on sawdust, many flushes can be expected through a long fruiting season. While rare and not particularly interesting, it is not a mushroom worth entirely ignoring.

Guzmán G. (1998). “Las Especies de Psilocybe (Fungi, Basidiomycotina, Agaricales) Conocidas de Jalisco (Mexico) Y Descripcion de dos Nuevas Para la Cienca”. Acta Botanica Mexicana (in Spanish). 43: 23–32

Images by Alan Rockefeller on Wikimedia Commons; others found here, here and here.