Psilocybe mexicana: the Star of Ancient Traditions

Picture this: the arid landscape of Mexico, where Psilocybe mexicana has been worshiped for centuries. Over 2,000 years ago, the people from North and Central America knew about it. The Aztecs called it teotlnanácatl – a blend of teotl (which means “god”) and nanácatl (aka “fungus”). 

This French botanist named Roger Heim first sorted it into its category. And Dr. Albert Hofmann, in his Sandoz lab, isolated and named the compounds psilocybin and psilocin from this very species. 

In a sense, it’s the very first discovery from the Psilocybe genus.

In this article, we’ll talk about the structure and habitat of Psilocybe mexicana a true little pioneer.

Source: Alan Rockefeller

The structure of Psilocybe mexicana

Psilocybin mushrooms come in different sizes and forms. This little gem has its own special look too. Here’s how you can recognize it. 

CapRanging from 0.5 – 2, it has a conical to campanulate form. As it matures, its color transforms from ocherous to brown or even beige, possibly hinting at hints of blue or green. 
GillsThese gills are either adnate or adnexed, showing off shades from gray to purple-brown, fringed with whitish edges.
StipeStands at a height of 2 to 5 in, with a slender diameter. It remains consistently hollow, and its hue ranges from straw color to brownish or reddish-brown. 
StainAny nicks or bumps will swiftly turn it blue.
SporesSpores measuring 8 to 12 x 5 to 8 μm are smooth and shaped like ovals.
Spore printImagine a deep purple-brown mark left behind by the spores.
Taste and odor The taste and odor are floury and starchy.

Habitat and distribution

It can appear solo or in small groups amidst moss along roadsides, trails, and humid meadows. You might even spot it in cornfields and grassy spots next to forests. 

It’s a fan of high altitudes between 300 and 550 meters (around 980 to 1,800 feet), and you won’t find it much at lower elevations. 

This mushroom’s a bit of a jet-setter, making appearances in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. You can catch it fruiting from May all the way through October.

Source: Alan Rockefeller

Similar species 

Mushrooms similar to Psilocybe mexicana are Psilocybe atlantis and Psilocybe samuiensis. 

Now, here’s where it gets interesting: Ramirez-Cruz and his research team were exploring the possibility of Psilocybe acutipilea from Brazil being a synonym of Psilocybe mexicana, back in 2013. But – the main mushroom in question, the type specimen, was a bit too moldy for them to be absolutely sure.

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If you’re curious about the color, size, shape, and moves of mushroom spores, you can browse our top-notch mushroom spores collection:


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