Identification: Psilocybe cubensis
Common Names: Cubey, Golden Top, Golden Teacher, cubies, san isidros, hongos kentecsh
Cap:1.5-8cm broad. Conic-campanulate often with an acute umbo at first, becoming convex to broadly convex and finally plane in age with or without an obtuse or acute umbo. Reddish cinnamon brown in young fruiting bodies, becoming lighter with age to more golden brown fading to pale yellow or white near the margin with umbo or the centre region remaining more darker cinnamon brown. Surface viscid to smooth when moist but soon dry; universal veil leaving spotted remnants on cap but soon becoming smooth overall. Flesh whitish, soon bruising bluish.
Gills: Attachment adnate to adnexed, soon seceding, close, narrow to slightly enlarged in the centre. Pallid to greyish in young fruiting bodies, becoming deep purplish grey to nearly black in maturity often mottled.
Stem: 40-150mm long by 5-15mm thick. Thickening towards the base in most specimens. Whitish overall but may discolour to yellowish; bruising bluish where injured. Surface smooth to striated at the apex, and dry. Partial veil membranous, leaving a well-developed, white, persistent membranous annulus that often bruises bluish and soon becomes dusted with purplish brown spores.
Habit, habitat, and distribution: Scattered to gregarious on dung of bovines (cattle, oxen, yaks, water buffalo), horse, or elephant dung and on well-manured grounds in the spring, summer, and fall. Found throughout the south-eastern United States, Mexico, Cuba, Central America, northern South America, the subtropical Far East (India, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia), and regions of Australia (Queensland). Typically, the largest fruitings of this species are seen in the two months prior to the hottest period during the year. In the south-eastern United States, May and June are the best months for picking, although they can be found up until January
Comments: On the psilometric scale of comparative potency, P.cubensis gets a rating of moderately potent, with maxima reported by Heim and Hofmann (1958) of .50% psilocybin and .25% psilocin, while Gartz (1994) reported .63% psilocybin and .11% psilocin. Stijve and de Meijer (1993) found .15% psilocybin and .33% psilocin in an Amazonian strain. Analyses of P.cubensis vary substantially due to a series of complex variables Bigwood and Beug (1982) found a fourfold variation in potency from wild specimens. (In one collection, Beug and Bigwood found an extraordinary 1.3% psilocybin and .35% psilocin!) Mushrooms grown indoors seem consistently more potent than field-collected specimens, probably due to nutritional factors (precursors) and protection from the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation. Gartz (1989) determined that psilocin levels of flushes were naturally low (.1% ) from a sterilised mixture of cow dung and rice (2:1), but could be raised up to 3.3% with the addition of only 25 milligrams of tryptamines into 10 grams of substrate. Furthermore, his study showed that at least 22% of psilocybin was derived from the introduced radioactively tagged tryptamines. This study reinforces the concept that substrate composition affects potency.