The mushroom sample is dried, pulverized, and then extracted into a small amount of unheated methanol by shaking it for half an hour. After the debris in the methanol has settled, the paper is spotted with the top fluid in a zone about 2 mm wide. The spotting zone is then treated with watersaturated butanol for about 2 hours. If psilocin and psilocybin are present in the specimen, the resulting solvent front cm from the initial spotting zone will contain them.
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After drying the paper with a hair dryer set on warm, this outer zone is sprayed lightly with a saturated solution of p-dimethyl-aminobenzaldehyde in alcohol and again with 1 N hydrochloric acid. The paper is then dried as before. Where psilocybin is present, a reddish color will develop. The presence of psilocin will be indicated by a blue-violet zone. Data on Various Psilocybian Species Conocybe cyanopus: Found from May through September—usually in dense shade scattered among mosses and in wet soil around bogs, swamps, and ditches— in the northwestern USA and as far east as Michigan.
Carpophores grow well in sphagnum moss having a pH range of Copelandia cyanescens: Found from early summer through late autumn—scattered, grouped, or clustered on cow dung or rich soil—in Florida and other southern states. Spores germinate easily on all agar media. Carpophores can be produced on uncased compost or on rye. Panaeolusfoenisecii also known as Panaeolina foenisecii or Psilocybe foenisecii, and commonly known as hay mower's mushroom or harvest mushroom : Found in late spring and early summer or in July, August, and September dur- ing cool, wet seasons—scattered or grouped in large numbers on lawns, pastures, and other grassy places—throughout the USA and in Quebec.
Tests of specimens found in Washington revealed no psilocybin, but eastern specimens were potent. Panaeolus sphinctrinus: Found in summer and autumn—in small groups in forests, fields, and roadsides almost always on cow dung — in many temperate parts of the world. Panaeolus subbalteatus: Found from spring through autumn—grouped or clustered often in rings up to two feet in diameter on open ground, freshly manured lawns, straw piles, all types of compost, dung piles, and roadsides—in Ontario and throughout the USA especially in Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Michigan, Washington, and Oregon.
It occasionally occurs as a weed mushroom in commercial mushroom houses.
Psilocybe baeocystis: Found in autumn and winter—solitary, grouped, or clustered on earth, lawns, mulch, and decomposing forest wood near scattered trees especially conifers —in western Oregon and Washington. This is a potent species containing psilocybin, psilocin, baeocystin, and nor-baeocystin. Perhaps it is because of the latter two alkaloids that it is the most visually hallucinogenic of the psilocybian mushrooms.
There is a report that in a six-year old boy died after eating a large number of these mushrooms. There has never been any other indication that these alkaloids are dangerous. Knowledgeable mycophiles start with small doses and progress gradually to larger ones. This is especially important when using the extracted crude alkaloids, which may contain large concentrations of the baeocystin alkaloids. Psilocybe caerulescens: Found in summer during the rainy season—grouped or clustered but rarely solitary in shady places on soil, sugar cane mulch, recently turned earth, or stream banks—in Alabama, northern Florida, and Mexico.
The Mexican variety P. It is almost impossible to produce carpophores on sterilized rye medium. They can be grown on vegetable compost in dim light, but the incubation period is long days. Although this species is resistant to white mold, its long incubation period leaves it prone to other diseases. It is not one of the more potent species. Psilocybe caerulipes: Found in summer and occasionally autumn—solitary or clustered on decomposing logs and debris of hardwood trees especially birch and maple —in New York, New England, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Ontario.
Psilocybe cubensis var. It grows well on MEA. It is a potent mushroom and is relatively resistant to contaminants. Psilocybe cyanescens: Found in autumn— scattered, grouped, or clustered in woods, on earth, among leaves and twigs, and occasionally on decomposing wood—in the northwestern USA. Psilocybe mexicana: Found from May through October—isolated or sparsely scattered at altitudes from to feet especially in limestone regions among mosses and herbs, along roadsides, in humid meadows, in cornfields, and near pine forests—in Mexico.
Psilocybe pelliculosa: Found from September through December—scattered, grouped, or clustered on humus and debris in or near conifer forests—in the northwestern USA and as far south as Marin County, California. This is a small but potent species. Psilocybe quebencensis: Found from summer through late October—scattered in shady areas at forest edges, on sandy soil containing vegetable debris regularly inundated by river flooding, and on decomposing wood and debris especially birch, alder, fir, and spruce — in the Quebec area.
Psilocybe semilanceata: Found from August through September—often in large groups on soil, among grasses, in clearings, pastures, meadows, forest edges, open conifer woodlands, and on roadsides but never on dung — in New York, northern USA, British Columbia, and Europe. Generally regarded as one of the less potent species, it is sometimes quite potent.
Psilocybe strictipes: Found in October— rather clustered on soil or on decomposing wood and debris of conifers and other trees — in the northwestern USA especially in Oregon. It closely resembles P. It tends to be as visually hallucinogenic as that species and probably contains the same or similar baeocystin alkaloids. Psilocybe sylvatica: Found in September and October—in small, compact but unclustered groups in woods on leaf mold, on debris especially beech wood , around stumps and logs but not usually on them —from New York to Michigan and as far north as Quebec and Ontario.
This mushroom is small and is often mistaken for P. The species discussed above are only some of the more commonly known ones with hallucinogenic properties. They are recognized among the many psilocybin-bearing mushrooms: 40 species of Conocybe usually found in forests, pastures, gardens, dung areas, sandy soil, ant hills, decayed wood, and charcoal and having a cosmopolitan range ; 20 species of Panaeolus found on soil and dung and having a cosmopolitan range ; 40 species of Psilocybe found on soil, moss clumps, and organic substrata—such as dung, rotting wood, bagasse, and pear—and ranging from the arctic to the tropics ; and 9 species of Stropharia found on soil, dung, and sometimes on leaf mulch and rotting wood and having a fairly cosmopolitan range.
Making a Spore Print A spore print is a collection of spores on a flat surface. It can serve several purposes. It can be used to assist identification of the specimen by observing its color; or if made on a glass slide, by studying the shapes of the spores under a microscope. Mycological identification keys include descriptions of spore prints and microscopic spore features for different species.
Spore prints are also the standard method of collecting spores for later germination on agar media. A print from a single mushroom cap contains millions of spores. The method for making a spore print is as follows. A mushroom with its cap fully opened a nd its gills exposed is selected.
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With a sharp sterilized blade the stem is cut off as close to thegills as possible. The cap is placed gills down on a clean, white sheet of paper; on a sheet of glass that just been swabbed with alco- hoi; or on two or four sterilized microscopic slide glasses. The cap is covered with a clean, inverted bowl or bell jar for 24 hours to prevent drying of the cap and intrusion of foreign organisms. If a good spore print has not formed after this time, the cap is tapped lightly with the flat side of a knife or spatula.
This should shake loose many spores. If the print is made on glass, it is covered with another glass sheet immediately after removing the cap in order to prevent contamination. If microscopic slides are used, two slides are placed face to face and the edges are sealed with tape.
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If paper is used, it is folded several times so that the print is well inside. Spore prints are also available by mail order.
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Spores received from other persons might not be from the species that the sender claims they are. If the sender has misidentified the specimen and the recipient cultivates and ingests mycelia or extractions therefrom, the result may be disastrous. Pure Culture Technique The most difficult part of psilocybian mushroom cultivation is the observance of the rules of pure culture technique. These are the sanitary codes of mushroom cultivation. There are usually many varieties of bacteria and fungal spores in our environment; floating in the air, clinging to our hands and clothing, issuing from our mouths with every exhalation.
Extreme measures must therefore be taken to keep these out of the mycelial cultures, which could be rapidly overrun. The following points should be diligently observed.
Work should be done in a clean, uncluttered, dust-free room. Immediately before w ork, the work table is washed and the room is sprayed with disinfectant.
Arms, hands, and nails are scrubbed with disinfectant soap. Simple clothing should be worn.
Make sure that everything is at hand and that all your equipment is clean. Antiseptic mouthwash can be used in addition to covering the mouth and nose with a clean cloth or disposable surgery mask. The hair is covered with a surgical cap or shower cap. No drafts should be present in the room. All windows are closed and all doorjambs stuffed with a towel or rags. The highest form of medicine is love, says Paracelsus. If with his experiments the spagyrist [alchemist] does not at the same time devote himself to human spagyrics [alchemy], that is, the perfecting of his personality, everything is but of little value.
Junius sary people should be allowed in the room. Only sterilized equipment should touch the medium or inoculum.
One should never lean over the work. All swift movements that may cause a draft should be avoided. If possible a hood should be constructed around the work table or a screen or curtain should surround it. All materials should be kept in order and within reach. All equipment should be kept about three feet away from work.
No one should be permitted to enter or exit the room while work is in progress.
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