Revised February 22, 2006; October 1, 2007; and April 11, 2013.
Copyright 1998-2013 by John W. Allen.

Psilocybe pelliculosa Identification and Clear Cut Alder Habitat


Psilocybe pelliculosa (A. H. Sm.) Singer and A. H. Sm.


Cap: 8-15 mm broad. Yellow brown to olive brown. Fading to a pinkish buff. Yellow brown when dry.

Gills: Ascending. Cinnamon brown with white edges. Lighter than Psilocybe silvatica.

Stem: 60-80 mm long x 1.2.5 mm thick. Pale. Cream to brown in age. Covered with white filaments. Larger at base.

Spores: 9.3-13 x 5-7.

Sporeprint: Purplish brown.

Habitat: Scattered to gregarious to cespitose on well-decayed conifer substratum and in mulch and soil rich in lignin. Prefers alder woodchips or bark mulch.

Distribution: West of the Cascades in Southern Oregon along the western coast of the Pacific Northwest into British Columbia, Canada. Also reported from from northern california hnear the Oregon border; Idaho; New York; Ontario, Canada and Scandinavia and possibly northern Europe.

Season: Late September through December. Sometimes in January,

Dosage: 20 to 40 fresh mushrooms or from 2-4 grams dried. moderately weak Approximately 10-14 doses per fresh pound and loses about 50% psiocine in drying.

Comment: This small Psilocybe is very much somewhat similar to Psilocybe silvatica and sometimes is mistaken by amateur collectors as Psilocybe semilanceata (the liberty cap). This species fruits abundantly along logging roads where cedar is logged out and alders grow and the fungi appear in veins where the bulldozers meshed the small logs, stems, trigs, branches and such into sawdust and mixed bark and wood chip mulches. Common in clear cuts and pilings in the Pacific Northwest after 2-3 years of initial logging point. At times, some clear cuts in a 2-4-year period can spread in a particular area from two blocks of clearing up to a 30-mile deep cut after 4-years. I have seen hundreds of pounds of this species in the region of Kingston-Paulsboro, Bremerton to Kingston and Kingston to Port Orchard in Washington State, fruiting magnificently in clear cuts as far from Kingston to Port Angeles area of Washington state. Also appears in roadside mulched areas and parks. Always in Alder. Rarer now than 20-years ago. Prior to my discoveries in the rain forests of Washington in the mid to late 1970s, I had read in the mycological literature that Psilocybe pelliculosa was known of in the same clear cuts around Lake Takinitch in Oregon. While this species and its close relative Psilocybe silvatica grow side-by-side and macroscopically are similar, they are both relatively weak in tryptamine alkaloid content. In the clear cuts they can grow in veins with veins running up and down the mountain crevices and the bulldozed areas prior to a burn off. I should warn those who seek mushrooms in clear cuts to avoid sprayed areas. About six-years-ago, I and a friend from the Shroomery web-site were hunting along Old Kingston Highway and we saw two different helicopters flying overhead with large blue tarps and they were dumping liquids into a clear cut area where we had a permit to go into. At some of the unlocked logging gates, often frequented by young adults on dirt bikes who bring their friends or girlfriends out to the woods to smoke some herb, play together and also have many who come to target practice as elder locals have appeared where I and friends were picking loaded down with 6 or more boxes of ammo and 4-5 small guns or rifles. There are a lot of dumped ice boxes, refrigerators, stoves, etc., in the woods off the logging roads where such NRA types go target shoot. The other problem associated with clear cuts is that as of about 8-years-ago, 90% of all clear cuts became illegal. Waerhauser land which owns a majority of clear cuts where alder mulch's lifestyles began now sell mushroom picking permits for $35.00 dollars a permit that allows pickers to annually enter 3-specific areas of their woods to pick edible mushrooms. When those who have edibles leave a logging area along the Oregon and Washington Coastal region, there are now suddenly dozens of parked vehicles waiting for mushroom pickers to leave the woods and then they attempt to try to purchase everyone's mushroom collections. That way it saves a picker a trip to the public market. Many states now also have laws regarding picking mushrooms, magic or edibles from public, private, and/or Federal lands and Parks. After two to three years in a clear cut, the nutrients in the wood chips and mulches are usually consumed by the mycelia and so the shrooms do not return, especially in man-made environments. And Psilocybe pelliculosa as well as Psilocybe silvatica have been collected in such man-made urban and suburban environments, they are rare and never last more than a single fruiting in any given park or roadside area where they grow prolifically. If one walks ten feet into the rain forest from off the trail alongside the clear cut area one is gathering mushrooms at, then they completely disappear. In man-made environments they are abundant. In their natural habitat they are extremely rare.

Psilocybe pelliculosa Photo Gallery


These above photos courtesy of Rich Gee

The Alder Clear-Cut Habitat of Psilocybe pelliculosa, Kingston, Washington

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