Wavy Caps/Blueleg Brownies (Psilocybe Cyanescens) Identification

Wavy Caps / Autumn / Winter / Edible

Scientific Name

Psilocybe Cyanescens


Common Names

Wavy Caps, Blueleg Brownie.


Family

Hymenogastraceae


Habitat

They are saprotrophic and are normally found growing on woodchip or mulch. They are probably an alien species, bought over by accident on imported woods from the USA.


Description 

One of the so-called ‘Magic Mushrooms’ contains the compounds psilocybin, psilocin, and baeocystin which are also found in Liberty Caps. These compounds are psychoactive and may produce hallucinations, they are illegal to process or sell in the UK.


Identifying Features:

Cap:

The caps are hygrophanous meaning that they change appearance depending on how moist they are, when fresh they are chestnut brown in colour but may fade to a buff/yellow colour. The caps are slightly convex when young becoming wavy and irregular with maturity. They are sticky to touch and will bruise blue when damaged.

This image was created by user Alan Rockefeller (Alan Rockefeller) at Mushroom Observer, a source for mycological images.You can contact this user here.English | español | français | italiano | македонски | മലയാളം | português | +/−, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
CureCat, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Stem:

The stems are white but will bruise blue when touched. They have a partial veil that covers the gills when they are very young, but this soon disappears sometimes leaving a ring zone on the stem. The stems are quite slender and become more club-like towards the base.

This image was created by user Alan Rockefeller (Alan Rockefeller) at Mushroom Observer, a source for mycological images.You can contact this user here.English | español | français | italiano | македонски | മലയാളം | português | +/−, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Gills:

The gills are brown when young, darkening to a purple/brown colour as they are discoloured by the spores. They are adnate to slightly decurrent.

Debivort, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons – Adnate
Decurrent Gill
Björn Sothmann, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Smell:

Mealy, like raw flour.


Spores:

Dark purple to brown.


Uses

In food

Although they contain psychoactive compounds these are all water-soluble, parboiling and removing the water & repeating a couple of times, beforehand renders the compounds inactive and the mushroom can then be consumed. They are quite bitter and probably not worthwhile.


Harvesting 

The 2005 Drugs Act amended the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 to clarify that both fresh and prepared (e.g. dried or stewed) magic mushrooms containing psilocin or psilocybin (such as the Blueleg Brownie) are Class A drugs. This means it’s illegal to collect this type of mushroom for yourself, to give away or to sell..


Known hazards

They can cause vomiting, stomach pains and anxiety attacks, some authorities advise that the Blueleg Brownie should be treated as poisonous.

You also risk up to 7 years in prison and an unlimited fine.


Potential lookalikes

The Funeral Bell (Galerina Marginata) can look similar but is darker and has a distinct smell that is not pleasant. The Funeral Bell will not bruise blue. As the name suggests Funeral Bells are toxic so care should be taken.


Extra Notes

They can sometimes appear in huge numbers, there are reports of up to 100,000 of them appearing at racecourses in Southern England.

The funny thing with these mushrooms is they also often appear in woodchip, the exact type that is laid around new housing estates and children’s playgrounds/play areas.

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