Originally published in Psychedelic Illuminations Issue 5, 1994:58-62
An inquiry into the field identification of a
psychoactive agaric commonly referred to as the "Weed Mushroom," Panaeolus
subbalteatus [now known as Panaeolus cinctulus].
This following paper is meant to be used only for the macroscopic and mycological identification of Panaeolus subbalteatus and not for any illicit activity.
Panaeolus subbalteatus is an entheogenic fungi which contains the psychomimetic indole alkaloids psilocybine, psilocine and baeocystine. Historically, this fungi is referred to as the "Weed Panaeolus." According to the late mycologists, Dr. Rolf Singer and Dr. Alexander H. Smith, it is "one of a number of weed fungi [like crab grass is to grass] found spontaneously like weeds in beds of the cultivated commercial white mushroom Agaricus bisporis [your common grocery store mushroom or champignon as the French refer to them]." During the past 100 years Panaeolus subbalteatus has been referred to by many different binomials, including the "poisonous mushroom" Panaeolus venenosus. Other mycologists have named it Panaeolus rufus, Panaeolus semiglobatus, and Panaeolus variabilis and some lame Europeans have referred to it as Panaeolus benanosis. It may even be conspecific with Panaeolus papillionaceus. The latter species is also referred to as the "butterfly" mushroom. Yet some believe that the mushroom intoxications from the 2nd century China, 11th century Japan and into the late 1800s that was identified as Panaeolus papilionaceae (syn.=Panaeolus papilionaceus) could really have been the mushroom species originally identified as Copelandia papilionacea (syn.=Copelandia cyanescens).
Since the early 1900's, numerous intoxications occurred when Panaeolus subbalteatus. was consumed as an edible variety. Early reports regarding accidental inebriations from Panaeolus species date back to the Chin dynasty (2nd century a.d.) and the 11th century in Japan. Many ancient Chinese herbal medicine books list Panaeolus species as the cause of a laughing sickness and describe cures under the heading of "Cures for the laughing sickness." A remedy for this laughing malady requires a potion consisting of an infusion of water which has been filtered through top soil. The inflicted party would drink the potion to alleviate the intense laughter after accidentally or purposely ingesting psilocybian fungi.
Panaeolus subbalteatus is a cosmopolitan species found all over the world. It is common in the dung of cattle and composting hay and/or haystacks. Other habitats include lawns, open fields and riding stables. Its season extends from late February through early June and again in August and September. Panaeolus subbalteatus fruits abundantly in rotted haystacks in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. In the Hawaiian archipelago and Panaeolus subbalteatus is abundant in cow manure at the 3000 foot elevation above and below Kula highway on Maui Island.
Panaeolus subbalteatus (Berk. & Broome) Sacc.
My personal discovery of Panaeolus subbalteatus in Kent, Washington, and a step by step method used in identifying this common black spored agaric.
In 1982 I was on a mushroom foray in a pasture, in Kent, Washington, a field where I had previously been involved in studying the growth, development and various habitats of the "liberty cap" mushroom (Psilocybe semilanceata), one of the most common and sought after mushrooms in the Pacific Northwest. During this foray I came upon a most startling discovery, one that would definitely make my day.
There, right in front of my eyes, was a tiny grouping of what appeared to me to be some very small mushrooms, mushrooms which I believed just might possibly contain the hallucinogenic compounds known as psilocybin and psilocine.
Over the years, my day by day field research was finally beginning to pay off. In fact, it had become somewhat of a daily habit which I ritualistically enjoyed. I had been gaining a very deep insight in identifying many varieties of fungi and my knowledge of species had tremendously grown since I first discovered the "liberty cap" mushroom back in 1972.
It was in the early part of April and I had been wandering from field to field for about three hours. On this particularly cloudy and sometimes rainy spring day, I came upon and espied a fairly small sized grouping of multi-banded fungi (marked by zones of color). I soon became enchanted by their fresh appearance. They were in a cluster and appeared to be huddling together like a family trying to keep themselves warm. I noticed that the mushrooms seemed to be asking the sky to bring them more fresh rain so that they could grow tall, as if they were trying to reach out to the heavens above them.
One of the first notable features I observed about these mushrooms while gazing at their radiance was that they were growing directly from out of a dung heap or what is commonly referred to as a cow pie.
Gazing at this wonderful symbiosis of mushroom and dung, I began to realized that these mushrooms just might possess some sort of celestial energy. It was as if they were telepathic and speaking to me in a language which only they and I knew. Somehow I could feel their aura and I knew that they had been calling me from afar to come and visit them. They were inviting me to their home so that I could experience all that they were. Inviting me to pick them from their habitat which they knew so well. I felt that they transcended to me a warmth which only I knew and the wind seemed to whisper over and over, "pick me, pick me if you dare."
Within a few seconds of time, beginning from that very moment when my eyes first gazed upon their presence in the dung, a slight grin began to appear across my face and I smiled as my heart fluttered and palpitated exceedingly faster then it normally did. I was flushed with excitement because I realized the potential which these little mushrooms might have in store for one such as I who had humbly wandered into their time and space of existence on this green little planet which we call earth.
Immediately I proceeded to kneel down on the ground next to the mushrooms. As I did, my knees began to melt as they slowly sank into the soft wet moist dewy grass that grew around their humble home of a cow pie. During the next several minutes I proceeded to take several photographs of the fungi while my eyes slowly scanned the caps, gills, and stems of the mushrooms as I attempted to key the fungi into their exact genera and species.
First I observed that the pileus or caps of the mushrooms were somewhat zonate, that is, they had layered zones of different shades of color running from the outer edges of the cap towards the center. Each cap was similar in appearance, each exhibiting several shades of a reddish-brown to a pallid tan tone. Later while I dried some of the mushrooms in the sun I noticed a color change which occurred during their drying stage. It transformed their radiance from a cinnamon reddish-brown (sometimes a fawn color) to a light copper brown in the center of the cap and they dried to a pallid white tone.
The center of the cap looked somewhat knobby in appearance. Eventually the color of the caps of the mushrooms seemed to fade to a pallid white grey tone and in some specimens the caps of the mushrooms had become pitted, wrinkled and parched while they dried. The younger specimens which I observed were mostly bell shaped or ovate and some were even convexed to umbonate in age. The margins on some of the caps were slightly incurved but did not seem to be translucent (viscid when moist) like their cousins the Psilocybes.
Next I turned over the pileus (cap) which I was now holding in my hand and I proceeded to take out my portable scissors from inside of my back pack. I then cut the stem of the mushroom from off of the cap and placed the cap of the mushroom (gill plates facing down) onto a piece of white paper which I had extracted from my back pack. I needed to make a spore print so that I could properly identify the genus to which these mushrooms belonged. I then placed a small jar over the mushroom cap so that the spores would fall properly down onto the paper and not blow away.
This procedure is an important step for the amateur mycologist who wishes to avoid an unpleasant accidental intoxication of a possible poisonous species of mushroom. It is also an important step in keying to genus, various species of fungi and proper field identification of a fungi species is necessary.
After twenty minutes I lifted the small jar from off of the paper and removed the mushroom cap which revealed the exact color the spore print had produced. Much to my amazement I was astonished to find that my mushroom cap had created a beautiful spore print. One which resembled a spiraling eye which was totally jet black.
Black spores are representative of several different genera (1) Coprinus (inky caps) and (2) Panaeolus (of which the latter species also include the cosmopolitan genus Copelandia and Anellaria.
Next I decided to check the gills of the mushroom cap which I had used to produce my spore print. I carefully examined the gills as well as their structure and I noticed that the edges of the gills were white and somewhat variegated or mottled. The margin of the cap seemed to overlap the gills.
I then picked up the stem which I had earlier cut from the mushroom cap and examined the end of it to determine if it was hollow. It was. This is another common feature in both Panaeolus and Psilocybe species. The color of the stem ranged from a dark reddish-brown to a light fawn color. It appeared to have vertical lines running like spirals up and down the stem which was also covered with white fibrils. No veil or remnants of a veil appeared to be present. The base of the stem was covered with a fine fluffy patch of white mycelium with threads of mycelia protruding around it's bulbous bottom.
All of a sudden my eyes began to sparkle and light up like a bright comet streaking through the sky which had suddenly began to clear up. I then noticed a tiny tinge of heavenly azure blue running along the base of the bulbous stem from where I had plucked it from out of the dung. Now and only now did I realized that this small black agaric fungi which I had stumbled upon during my humble wanderings was none other than the infamous weed fungus known as Panaeolus subbalteatus.
Panaeolus subbalteatus (Berk. & Broome) Sacc.
My first awareness of the psychoactive properties of Panaeolus subbalteatus occurred in the early spring of 1972 after a brief encounter with some hitchhikers I had picked up on the southern outskirts of Corvallis, Oregon. At that time in space I was not aware that the mushrooms my hitchhiking friends had described to me were Panaeolus subbalteatus. If the reader will bare with me for a few moments more I will explain my ignorance in this matter which transpired soon after giving these three young adults a free ride.
I had been traveling from Seattle, Washington to Eugene, Oregon to visit with my family and was driving south on Highway 99 West just South of Corvallis. I had just past over a large green spanned bridge and had driven about two mile south of Corvalis when I noticed three hitchhikers (two girls and a guy) along the road. I noticed that they were rather joyously hopping along the road with their thumbs sticking out so I slowed down and pulled over along side of them and offered them a ride. They introduced themselves to me as they got into the car and said they were students at Oregon State University in Corvalis and they were only going as far as Junction City. As I continued on down the road I began to notice that they seemed to be in a very lively spirited and somewhat humorous state of being. One of the girls offered me a joint of bud which she said some friends had grown indoors in Eugene. However, I declined since I never drive and smoke at the same time.
As our conversation continued the subject of mushrooms popped up. Before to long I realized that my passengers were acting rather silly and I noticed that they could not stop giggling while they were talking. I asked them if they were high on something other than pot and one of the girls admitted that they were beginning to get off on some "magic mushrooms" they had just picked and eaten not more than thirty minutes ago.
It was a very hot spring day and one of the girls told me that I had just rescued them from the heat when I drove by and picked them up. When I inquired of them as to what kind of mushrooms they had eaten, they replied that they did not know their scientific name but that locals in the area referred to them as "red caps" and "subs." In 1973 I was unaware that these were epithets used by college students when referring to Panaeolus subbalteatus.
The students then informed me that they had each eaten approximately 20 to 30 mushrooms but that they had no sample specimens for me to examine so that I could try and identify them. They told me that if I wanted some they would be more then willing to go back with me to where they found them and help me get high. Since I was in a hurry to get to Eugene I decided to declined their offer. I just did not have the time to turn around and head back in the direction I had just come from.
The girls were overtly friendly and told me that they had picked the mushrooms on runways at the old Corvalis Airport. I thought that they must have been confused about where they had picked their mushrooms from since I knew that mushrooms did not grow on airport runway strips.
For two years I had been picking "liberty caps" which only grew in pastures. I was not aware of other species at that time and for some reason I just could not believe their story and assumed that they had been pulling my leg. I thought that they only told me they had picked the mushrooms on the airport runway strips because they did not want me to know where their mushroom patch was. Furthermore, I felt that I knew more then they did about the mushrooms since I realized that the "liberty caps" mushrooms which I loved so well only grew in the fall and since it was the middle of April I could not really rely on their information as being valid or reliable.
When I reached Junction City, Oregon, I pulled my car over to the side of the road and let my trippy passenger out, thanking them for their company and mushroom trivia. I then proceeded down the road to Eugene and my family who were awaiting my arrival.
I told my wife of my adventures on Highway 99 West and she agreed that I should completely ignore the hitchhikers tale and so I put this story in the back of my mind where it remained for the next couple of years.
Panaeolus subbalteatus (Berk. & Broome) Sacc.
In the spring of 1974, I was visiting the mycology department at the University of Oregon. A young student of mycology with whom I was acquainted mentioned that he was having a mushroom party at his fraternity on the weekend and would I like to come. He told me that his friends had just harvested a rather large collection of Panaeolus subbalteatus which he said were common around Eugene during the early spring months. He claimed that the mushrooms were popular at parties and concerts and were always available from late February through May.
I asked my friend at the University mycology department where I might be able to collect the mushrooms from. He then described their habitat to me explaining that they were common in rotted haystacks and then told me where I could find them right there in Eugene. It was as if deja vu struck me right on my right temple with a big bang. My friend then said to drive out to the Eugene Airport along Airport road and said that I would notice a field near the airport with two long rows of stacked hay. My friend said that students at the University of Oregon had been picking mushrooms there from out of the haystacks since 1968.
After departing from the University, I immediately set out towards the airport to investigate and explore the many possibilities surrounding the circumstances of my good fortune. When I arrived at my destination, I was amazed and astonished as I observed two somewhat rather large tiers of stacked hay (two and three bales high and four bales wide) and about twenty bales in length. These were the large sized bales. There were some tarps alongside the haystacks which had been blown off from the intense winter and spring rains. The hay was quite rotted from setting outdoors all winter and I later learned that each summer as the old hay was sold, new hay stacks would replace the old by the middle of summer. It was here in these haystacks that I first observed and picked Panaeolus subbalteatus.
Panaeolus subbalteatus (Berk. & Broome) Sacc. Photo Courtesy of Angry Shroom.
Two years later in 1976, I once again found myself traveling from my home in Washington state to Eugene, Oregon and while driving through Corvalis, I reflected back on the tale that three hitch-hikers had shared with me a few years before. A tale of an elusive mysterious mushroom which they had found, picked and eaten from off of an airport runway strip at the old Corvalis Airport. I guess that I believed that if mushrooms grew by the airport in Eugene, Oregon, then why not by the Corvalis airport.
I was once again heading south on Highway 99 West and I began to scout out the open fields on the left and right side of the highway. I had just passed the airport on my right and after driving about a half of a mile I began to notice some rather strange looking clumpy mounds off in the distance on the right side of the highway. I wondered if they might be stacks of hay. It was in the middle of March and the sun was breaking through the clouds which had delivered some overnight rain in the area. I noticed a road on my right side and on the left side of the highway was a large white sign with black letters that read "Green and White Rock Quarry"; The road on the right was adjacent to a small white house with a dog in the yard. A farmer was driving a tractor through the open field and I turned into the driveway and proceeding slowly down the road.
When I had driven about 15 feet, I noticed a sign on my right which read "Property of the City of Corvalis-No Trespassing." I stopped my car, got out, and approached the farmer, informing him that I was an amateur student of mycology and would it be all right if I went out in the field to photograph edible mushrooms. I told him that I wanted to photograph the haystack mushrooms for a book I was writing. The farmer laughed and to my astonishment replied "why not, everyone else does." He then explained to me that students from Oregon State University at Corvalis have been picking mushrooms on the runway strips for years and that he didn't care as long as nobody let his four cows out of his property onto the highway.
I thanked the farmer for his permission to go onto the property and proceeded down the road for about 1/8th of a mile. I crossed over a set of railroad tracks and then I noticed about 9 separate tiers of large bales of stacked hay, each tier was stacked four high and four across. Each tier ran about 250 yards in length. It was then that I realized my hitch-hiking friends from 4 years before had been telling me the truth and I kind of regretted that I had somehow doubted them.
I parked my car on one of the runways and walked over to a large compost heap composed of shredded hay, manure, crushed nut and sea shells with several varieties of both edible and non-edible fungi growing from out of it. Alongside of the compost heap was a layer of black oily looking slime which smelled intensely putrid. I then noticed a phallic looking object protruding from out of the oily slime and thought that a cow had died under the liquid ooze. However, in a second I realized I had just discovered my first stinkhorn. When I say that the odor was putrid, it was worst then pig swill.
I also noticed several large blobs of black slimy oozing gobs of goo running down the side of the compost heap. These were the spore runoffs of what use to be a Coprinus species. They had apparently fruited and then melted down the sides of the rotted hay. Later I observed similar patches of the same black ooze on several of the surrounding haystacks. I also noticed an over abundance of tall rank grass growing on top of several of the haystacks and some of the grass was over two feet in height.
I then approached the first long tier of haystacks and I began to notice a lot of rust and smut fungus growing from the hay. There were also many species of jelly fungus of various colors which appeared sporadically throughout the haystack. I also noticed a small collection of the edible "horse" mushroom Agaricus arvensis. This latter fungi has pink gills which turn dark chocolate brown with age.
As I drew closer to my prey, I saw two little 6" high borough owls sitting perched in a small pocket in the haystack. They were silently asleep and totally unaware that I was encroaching on their territory.
Finally I began to noticed the zonate caps which were reminiscent of Panaeolus subbalteatus. At first I only noticed a few and then as I proceeded to walk alongside the haystack, more and more eventually came into view. They not only grew along the scattered hay at the bottom of the stack but they were wedged into every nook, cranny and crevice throughout the haystack. They were also growing on top of the hay in great abundance. It should be mentioned that it could be dangerous to tread upon the top of the haystack. They are stacked with open pockets inside of them and if the top stacks collapsed, one would fall inside and be covered by hay with no oxygen. This could cause suffocations to the person trapped inside.
A few times I would pull away the hay from where the mushrooms were growing in the hay and I would notice some mild tinges of blue appearing in the mycelium imbedded in the hay. Later on I will describe this bluing phenomena in more detail. However, I would like to explain that since finding this mushroom species in abundance in rotted hay, I then knew that I could collect this fungus anywhere throughout the world.
After collecting many fresh pounds of Panaeolus subbalteatus, I left the field and drove my car back down where the farmer was working. The farmer explained that each year when the hay is harvested during the summer months of June, July and August, it is usually covered with tarpons to protect it from the rain and snow, but by December the tarpons usually blow off during the heavy rainfalls. In the spring, the hay is then shredded into compost mixtures for gardens and to be used as fertilizers for gardens, etc.
I have since found this mushroom growing in rotted hay and haystacks in the Pacific Northwest cities of Lebanon, Sweet Home, Scio, Albany, Harrisburg, Peoria, Alsea, Monroe, Eugene, Junction City, Springfield, and Portland, Oregon; Olympia, Kent, Fall City, Yelm Chehalis, Wenatchee, Moses Lake and Seattle, Washington and in a lawn at Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Recently I have picked numerous small collections of this mushroom appearing in woodchips, obviously fruiting from out of the soil under the chips. Amazing, I now report a new habitat for this species.
As I described earlier in Encounter Number One, my own personal experience in finding this fungus in cow dung in Kent, Washington, I decided to write these adventures for those interested in discovering their own supplies of entheogenic fungi species.
Panaeolus subbalteatus (Berk. & Broome) Sacc. Photo Courtesy of Angry Shroom
In 1982 I went mushrooming with Paul Stamets at the Trail's End Riding Stable near the airport in Tumwater, Washington. As noted earlier, riding stables and racetracks are ideal locations for picking Panaeolus subbalteatus mushrooms. I had previously learned of the Trails End mushroom patch from my good friend Mike Knoke. Mike used to help in the propagation of edible mushroom species at Paul Stamets' mushroom farm. At this particular time there were no mushrooms so I came back in the early fall with a few friends.
Behind the riding stables is a large dugout where all the manure from the horses is dumped along with the stable shavings. Not only did I find Panaeolus subbalteatus there but some edible fungi as well. In 1984 I returned there again for what I thought would be one final mushroom hunt. This time I not only collected Panaeolus subbalteatus but I discovered a large collection of Psilocybe stuntzii which had apparently fruited in a mixture of sawdust, manure, and stable shavings. In 1991, I again visited this location with Dr. Jochen Gartz of Leipzig, Germany. Although it was too late in the season for Panaeolus subbalteatus, we did find a bluing variety of the genus Gymnopilus and we stopped at a MacDonalds restaurant a mile from the riding stable and as I got out of the car the lawn surrounding the restaurant was loaded with many specimens of Psilocybe stuntzii and a few small specimens of Psilocybe baeocystis.
Also in January of 1982, I found over 80 specimens of Panaeolus subbalteatus fruiting from bark mulch surrounding a downtown Seattle, Washington parking lot. The mulch had been layered over a fertilized lawn and the fungi had grown up through the bark mulch. In February the mulched area had produced about 5 pounds of the entheogenic fungi and many passers-by had also noticed the appearance of the mushrooms and were picking them in small quantities on a regular basis for three years.
In the early fall of 1986 on Maui Island in the Hawaiian archipelago, I had been mushrooming up on Kula highway on a tract of land belonging to Koulau Hawaiian homes. Here I discovered giant specimens (some as large as Psilocybe cubensis) of Panaeolus subbalteatus. They were growing from manure in quantity. Appearing in dung, in wooded areas as well as in the grasslands of this land tract which is situated at the 3000 fool level of Kula Highway just before Poli Poli Road. The first thing I noticed about these large specimens of Panaeolus subbalteatus was that they exhibited an intense bluing reaction after they were handled. The same field also produced large collections of Copelandia cyanescens and Copelandia cambodginiensis, a related psychoactive species. The latter mushroom is the most potent of the Copelandia species and was originally identified from Kampuchea (Cambodia).
Black spored fungi of the genus Panaeolus and Copelandia
species both belong to the family of psilocybian fungi known to contain
the hallucinogenic indole alkaloid psilocybine and psilocine. Black-spored
fungi of the genus Coprinus and Anellaria may contain some tryptamine
derivatives but do not possess either psilocine and/or psilocybine. Coprinus
species are known as inky caps because their caps are deliquesce; that
is, after appearing in the early morning dew their caps began to melt
right on down their stems, usually leaving a glob of black goo where they
once grew. Like Panaeolus subbalteatus, Coprinus species also fruit well
in rotted hay and lawns. Although Anellaria is a dung fungus it does not
resemble Panaeolus subbalteatus whatsoever.
Since I was aware of the habitats of these various families and knew of their seasons, I was able to determine that I could always find Panaeolus subbalteatus anywhere in the world.
For a while after 1970, Panaeolus subbalteatus had become the third most popular free high mushroom in the United States after Psilocybe cubensis (the "gold top") and Psilocybe semilanceata (the "liberty cap"). Andrew Weil wrote about the popular use of Panaeolus subbalteatus in the Pacific Northwest in his book The Marriage of the Sun and Moon.
In 1976, Dr. K. W. Jacobs of Mississippi reported that "Panaeolus subbalteatus was gaining quite a reputation in Mississippi and adjacent states and could possibly be the second most widely popular mushroom being consumed for its psychoactive properties in the Southeastern United States in use today." Jacobs based his statement on inaccurate information obtained from a mushroom identification manual by F. C. Ghouled. By 1976, Jonathan Ott, Jeremy Bigwood, Gastón Guzmán and Andrew Weil, all described Panaeolus subbalteatus as a popular recreational drug and in 1977 Andrew Weil wrote that "during the spring and summer months when the "liberty caps" are not available, Oregonians can use another variety of psilocybian mushroom in the genus Panaeolus. It is easily picked in quantities on piles of rotting hay in manured cow fields in the Willamette Valley. and at times in new well fertilixed sodded lawns, or mulched beds with enriched ferilized top soil beneath the mulch.
This mushroom is twice as fleshy as the "liberty cap", even though it is less potent. The dosage (when fresh) for both species, is similar depending on the size of the mushroom. Usually about twenty to forty mushrooms are sufficient for producing the desirable effects similar to that of the Psilocybes and Copelandias." Weil also mentioned that "moreover the quality of the effects are not as good. When fresh it has been known to produce symptoms of mild toxicity, and sometimes nausea has been known to occur. I felt uncomfortable and quite restless after eating this variety. Drying them seems to curb some of the toxicity but not all of it. It is also not as visual in context as [are] other varieties. None the less it is quite popular in the warmer months."
Although Dr. Weil's experience with this species was not up to his expectations, clinical research on human volunteers has proven that Panaeolus species are more tranquil and less toxic in nature to humans than their cousins the Psilocybes. A clinical dosage for Panaeolus subbalteatus would be three to five grams of dried material or one fresh ounce. This would be equivalent to the same dosage for Psilocybe cubensis. One fresh ounce of Panaeolus subbalteatus would be approximately five to thirty fresh mushrooms depending on their size.
Many mushroom enthusiasts may or may not be aware
of the notable bluing reaction which occurs in mushrooms containing psilocybine
and/or psilocine. The bluing reaction is an indication of the presence
of psilocybine and psilocine in several genera of wild mushrooms. Laboratory
and field research has shown that when the flesh of a mushroom which contains
psilocybin and psilocin is damaged, scraped, broken or bruised, whether
from natural elements (wind or rain, falling leaves, insects, slugs, animals,
etc.) or from human handling, an enzyme occurs causing the bruised section
of the mushroom to turn from an olive green to blue green color. Oxygen
is the cause of this color change and is common in many species of psilocybian
While there are many species of fungi which are blue naturally, these naturally occurring blue fungi may be poisonous and/or toxic to human consumption. Two such species are Boletus cyanescens and Boletus satanicus. However, all Boletus species have a porous sponge like sections under their caps and do not possess gills like the psilocybian species.
Dr. Rolf Singer originally "defined Panaeolus subbalteatus as not bluing in the stipe [stem] because of the brown coloration [of the stem]." However Dr. Singer did notice the occurrence of some mild bluing in the sclerotia. Additionally, Drs. Rolf Singer and Alexander H. Smith were the first to note that the "blue color of the sclerotia and the base of one single specimen [of Panaeolus subbalteatus] were the same as they found in Copelandia cyanescens and the bluing of the Psilocybes."
In 1963, Dr. Roger Heim, a French mycologist observed "some bluing to be present in some specimens of laboratory grown cultures of Panaeolus subbalteatus." As I mentioned earlier, The specimens of Panaeolus subbalteatus which I collected on Maui in Hawaii all exhibited a very intense blue staining reaction, yet the hay varieties and mainland dung varieties apparently are lacking in the bluing phenomena.
In 1976, Jonathan Ott reported that "psilocine and psilocybine have been detected in Canadian specimens of Panaeolus subbalteatus." Mexican specimens were also shown to contain psilocybin as were Italian collections. Recently this mushroom was also identified from Alaska.
In 1977, Repke, Leslie and Guzmán found baeocystine and norbaeocystine in Panaeolus subbalteatus. They based their findings on studies of six different collections of Panaeolus subbalteatus collected in Maryland, Oregon and Washington states. Leslie also bioassayed a collection which was stored for more than a year and reported a most rewarding experience.
I hope that this paper will provide its reading audience with some knowledge of understanding of the growth, development and habitat of Panaeolus subbalteatus and that those who seek find what they search for.