Created April 22, 2012; and revised April 4, 2013; September 18, 2016; and March 16, 2017.
Copyright 1998-2017 by John W. Allen

Psilocybe allenii

Psilocybe allenii Borovička, Rockefeller and Werner.
Photo: John W. Allen).

For the taxonomy, macroscopic description of the species and DNA (ITS) Sequencing of Psilocybe allenii and some related species, see: Borovička, Rockefeller, and Peter G. Werner, 2012

Habit: Collybiod; fruit body rather variable, depending on substrate quality and environmental conditions.

1.5 cm diam., rarely larger, broadly convex to plane when mature in age, often also almost hemispheric and not umbonate, sometimes slightly depressed in the center, with a straight margin, sometimes slightly incurved, only very rarely somewhat sort of wavy but not fully like Psilocybe cyanescens. Sometime with a striate margin in mature specimens when moist (striations continue one fifth to half of the way to the cap's center); surface smooth, viscid when moist, fading to a light yellowish buff as it dries; staining blue when damaged or sometimes in response to environmental conditions. Caps are hygrophanous and can change color from a sun yellow to an orangey color and eventually a light brown to deep chestnut brown, very hygrophanous and fading to pale tan or yellowish brown or grayish white in drying. As noted above, the species is very viscid when moist with a separate pellicle.

Gills: Adnate to sinuate, cream to pale gray brown when young, dark purple brown mature, margin pale to whitish. Light grayish when young becoming purplish brown in age with white edges.

Stem: 4-7(9) x 0.2-0.7 cm. long x 2-4 mm thick. Straight and cylindrical, hollow, sometimes firm but the stipe splinters when picked while moist causing extreme bluing to occur on the splintered sections where the mushroom has been snapped and lifted from its mycelial roots. Rather firm, apex pruinose, whitish when young and slightly enlarged at base with thick white rhizomorphs; surface smooth to silky fibrillose and strongly bruising blue when bruised or damaged from human handling or from naturally occurring environmental elementals. Later off-white and/or with yellowish shades. Mycelium while, rhizomorphic, sometimes staining sky blue when damaged. Odour and taste strongly farinaceous. Veil present in young specimens, cortinate, snow white, later disappearing.

Basidia: Cylindrical, mostly 27-37 x 9-11µ, 4-spored, sterigmata usually 4-5.5 microns long. Clamp connections abundant.

Spores: (11-1)12.6-13.1(14.2) x (6.5)6.8-7.1-7.4(7.9)µ. Slightly narrower in side view (median - (6.8µ), elongate-ellipsoid, equilateral in face view, somewhat inequilateral in side view, with an apical pore, relatively thick-walled (0.8-1µ, brownish with a yellow tinge in 5% KOH. According to Workman of Spore Works Labs in Tennessee, he found that the spores from one of my collections of Psilocybe allenii also fit within the spore range of the same species found in the San Francisco Bay Area and verified that the spores as Guzmán (Pers. Comm., 2007) had already noted were within the spore range of Psilocybe cyanescens. Workman listed his microscopic spore range of my collection of Psilocybe allenii as: 10.6-12.7µ.

Cheilocystidia: Abundant, variable in shape, narrowly clavate-mucronate, narrowly lageniform (neck no longer than 8µ), rarely with a forked neck, infrequently narrowly fusiform to fusiform, hyaline, thin-walled, mostly 20-30 x 6-8µ.

Pleurocystidia: Common, narrowly to broadly clavate-mucronate (rarely with subcapitate apex), hyaline, thin-walled, mostly 25-35 x 9-14µ.

Caulocystidia: Present, variable in shape but generally similar to cheilo- and pleurocystidia. All types of cystidia sometimes finely encrusted at apex.

Sporeprint: Dark violet brown to dark tobacco purplish brown.

Habitat and Phenolygy: Scattered to gregarious, sometimes caespitose, growing on woody debris, among bush lupines, blackberry brambles and in garden beds of mixed alder and willow wood chips in bark mulch. Common among mulched gardens and nurseries that are layered in alder and other hard wood mulches (Pinus radiata, Cupressus macrocarpa, Eucalyptus, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Alnus and others). Synanthropic, most common in urban wood chip landscaping and also found in wood chipped gardens, parks and similar urban locations. This species is easy to cultivate on agar, grain spawn and sawdust or woodchips. Fructifies in cold weather from late September to January. In Washington State to British Columbia, Canada, this species fruits in November and December, long after the late September to December crops of Psilocybe cyanescens appear in the Puget Sound area of Seattle. In San Francisco, California, Psilocybe allenii according to Alan Rockefeller of the Bay area appears before Psilocybe cyanescens and more so in Eucalyptus mulch than in alder; although the species will grow in most hardwoods with alder mixed in the mulches.

Distribution: While John Allen had been aware of this species in the Seattle and Oregon/California habitats along the I-5 Corridor since the early 1980s, It is now known to also occur from Los Angeles to Seattle and north to Vancouver Island and other southern urban regions of British Columbia, Canada. While most Californian collections have been found in the Bay Area and Humboldt County, (CA) within 10 miles of the ocean or bay, it has been found at least 100 miles inland in California.

Season: Fruits in the Seattle region from mid November through mid-December until the 1st frost, freeze or snow remains more than two days. In the Bay area it seems to appear early and fruits from late September until far into January depending on the weather.

Dosage: 1 large specimen, 2 to 5 small specimens. High in psilocin and low in psilocybine, at the moment there is currently no chemical analysis yet available but is in progress in Thailand with several researchers preparing this species in culture and from natural specimens as well.

Comments: A few hundred pounds of this species were found fruiting in and out of what was primarily a variety of local garden mulch composed of alder and willow chip compost, made up entirely of crushed and partial portions of broken twigs, stems, branches and smashed pieces of bark were discovered in the early 1980s fruiting along both sides of I-5 Highway between Eureka and Arcata, California. That discovery was brought to the attention of the public and academic community by several participants of the Breittenbush, Oregon Annual Mushroom Workshop Symposium, located approximately 60 miles east of Salem, Oregon, near Lake Detroit. The mushroom workshops and ID programs were, at the time, presented by a PNW group of interested mycologists and aficionados of psilocybian fungi known as Myco Media.

There were several collections of various species of magic mushrooms on display each year brought and there was always a few new species that had not yet been identified and named. However, it was known that because of their intense bluing reactions that the new species were definitely of a psilocybian nature. The table displays of edibles and magic mushrooms were popular that day. Attending participants, including JWA, and several newer participants had also donated private collections at the display tables for identification, including those that altered one's state of consciousness. These included specimens of Psilocybe stuntzii, Psilocybe cyanescens, Psilocybe baeocystis and at that time, as early potent bluing species from Astoria/Hammond known by locals as Psilocybe astoriensis, later named in 1996 as Psilocybe azurescens Stamets and Gartz.

Origin of Name: This species was named in honor of John W. Allen for his persistent belief that it was indeed a new species, the fact that he researched and deposited the first collections of same for scientific studies and for his more than 38-years of contributions in the field ethnomycology.

So I wish to express my thanks to Jan Borovička of the University of Prague, Czech Republic; Alan Rockefeller, Peter T, Werner and Jeff Webb (Auweia) of San Francisco; and Cardboard, @cro, and DH of the Shroomery Internet web-site. Additionally, I also wish to thank my colleagues, Dr. Prakitsin Sihanonth of the Department of Microbiology, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand and their staff, students and teachers, who, over the past 24 years willingly contributed their time and efforts in aiding me and facilitating me in the study of ethnomycology I so much loved being involved with.


The habitat of Psilocybe allenii at the University of Washington, Seattle Campus.

Other's Shroomer's Photographs of Psilocybe allenii

Photos used by permission of Cardboard of the Shroomery.

Three Photos: Courtesy of J. Webb. Psilocybe allenii in the Bay Area of San Francisco.

Photos: Psilocybe allenii from the Bay Area. Caps placed on Aluminum Foil to produce spore prints for clinical research.
Photos: Courtesy of Alan Rockefeller of San Francisco, California.

(Scanning Elecron Microscopy and Graphs of Psilocybe allenii and related species)

Two SEM photos of Jeff Webb's above SF collection by Prakitsin Sihanonth and John W. Allen.

The first graph shows six collections that were studied. The 2nd graph shows the microscopics of one of my collections.
Photos: Courtesy of Workman and Spore Works Labs.

Above are five Micrographs of Psilocybe allenii. See below comparison micrograph of Psilocybe cyanesecens from Oregon.

Here above is a micrograph from Workman of Psilocybe cyanescens for Comparison to Psilocybe allenii.
Photos: Micrographs of Psilocybe allenii and Psilocybe cyanescens by Workman of Spore Works Labs, Tennessee.

SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy) Images of Psilocybe allenii

Psilocybe allenii Borovička, Rockefeller and Werner.
(Photo: Prakitsin Sihanonth and John W. Allen).

Bluing in Psilocybe allenii
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