The History of the Psilocybe Mexicana Mushroom

The Psilocybe mexicana has a rich history. Its usage dates back to at least 2,000 years ago by the indigenous tribes of North, Central and South America who used it to connect to celestial entities and perform spiritual rites and ceremonies. The Aztecs named it ‘teotlnanácatl’ or ‘flesh of the gods’, to indicate its sacred importance. Unfortunately, the Spanish conquistadors, and their Catholic missionaries of the sixteenth century, forced these mushroom ceremonies underground by violently persecuting those who used them. 

via Wikimedia Commons

However, the rituals and knowledge managed to survive. The Psilocybe mexicana was the magic mushroom that Valentina Pavlovna Wasson and her husband Robert Gordon Wasson collected during a two year trip around Mexico (1953-1955) during which they took part in magic mushroom ceremonies themselves. The ceremonies were led by celebrated Mazatec curandera Maria Sabina. They sent the samples of mexicana they collected to the French mycologist Roger Heim, who went on to cultivate it under lab conditions. 

via Wikimedia Commons

These samples were then sent to Swiss chemist, and father of LSD, Albert Hofmann. After he experienced the magic of shrooms for himself, he became the first person to identify and extract psilocybin and psilocin in 1958. 

Today the psilocybe Mexicana mushroom  is not only one of the most popular psychedelic fungi, but also one of the most popular psychedelic substances, period.

How Do You Identify The Psilocybe Mexicana Mushroom? 

via Wikimedia Commons

The Psilocybe mexicana can be identified in the wild. These are the characteristics to look out for: 

Cap: The cap of the Psilocybe mexicana mushroom can range between 0.5 and 3cm in diameter. While young it is a cone shape, turning convex when it matures. It often has a small, raised area in the middle, like a little mushroom nipple. This is called an umbo. The surface of the cap ranges from viscid (sticky) to smooth when moist. The Psilocybe mexicana is a hygrophanous mushroom, this means that it changes in color as it ages. It begins as a brownish to rich orangey brown, fading as it dries to yellow. It also displays bluish-green tones in age, or due to damage (this is because of the psilocybin contained within.) 

Gills: The gills of the Psilocybe mexicana are adnate to adnexed, and occasionally sinuate. They are colored pale gray to dark purple-brown when mature, and often have whitish edges. 

Stem (or Stipe): The stem of the Psilocybe mexicana can range between 4 and 12.5cm in length and 1 to 3 millimeters thick. It is smooth and hollow. It is straw-yellow to brownish in color, getting darker with age, or due to damage. You may also see the remnants of a fibrous partial veil on the upper area of the stem. 

Spores: The Psilocybe mexicana spores are dark purplish-brown in color. They are ellipsoid (oval-ish) to subellipsoid  shape from the side, and sub rhomboid from the front. Psilocybe Mexicana spores are 8-12 by 5.5-8 micrometers. 

Spore Print: The spore print of Psilocybe mexicana is dark purple brown.  

Taste and Smell: The taste and smell of Psilocybe mexicana is described as farinaceous. This means like raw flour.  

Psilocybe mexicana spores (via Wikimedia Commons)

Psilocybe Mexicana Look-alikes

All of the species of the genus Psilocybe look rather similar. This makes it hard to differentiate between  Psilocybe cubensis, Psilocybe azurescens, Psilocybe semilanceata, Psilocybe cyanescens, and Psilocybe baeocystis, for example. They are all golden brown in color and bruise blue when damaged. Additionally both Psilocybe mexicana and Psilocybe cubensis enjoy grasslands with manure-deposits. To truly be sure of the difference between species morphological and microscopic features must be studied. 

via Flickr

Where Does the Psilocybe Mexicana Mushroom Grow?

The Psilocybe mexicana mushroom is known for producing sclerotia — also known as magic truffles. These are hardened nuggets of mycelium that function as a food reserve for the fungus during tough conditions (i.e. lack of nutrients, freezing weather, or drought.) These too contain psychedelic properties, and have become a popular alternative to magic mushrooms.

The Psilocybe mexicana is native to North and Central America. It can be found clustered in small groups along trails and road-sides or cornfields. However, its preferred habitat is manure-rich grasslands and meadows. In fact, such is its love of poop-rich fields mycologist Paul Stamets nicknamed it the ‘Mexican liberty cap’ due to their similar taste in environments. It prefers elevations of between 300 and 550 meters (980 to 1,800 ft). 

via Flickr

The Psilocybe mexicana mushroom, when in its natural habitat, fruits from May to October. Fruiting is when we see the visible mushroom part of the fungus. Think of it as the same as when flowers bloom in spring time. 

How to Grow Psilocybe Mexicana Mushrooms

However nowadays, cultivation of Psilocybe mexicana mushrooms happens all over the world. Sure, they like poopy fields, but did you know that many people grow Psilocybe mexicana from the comfort of their living room? This is how to grow Psilocybe mexicana mushrooms at home:

From Psilocybe mexicana spores:

You can grow Psilocybe mexicana mushrooms from Psilocybe mexicana spores. Think of this process as like growing a plant from a seed. The original at home cultivation techniques were developed by the brothers Terence and Dennis McKenna in their 1976 book Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide.

In 1992, the popular PF Tek method was made public. It had been developed by Robert McPherson, aka Psilocybe Fanaticus. PF Tek stands for Psilocybe Fanaticus Technique. It was created to make at-home cultivation of magic mushrooms, specifically the Psilocybe cubensis, a feasible possibility for complete beginners. The technique is made still more accessible as it utilizes commonly available materials, and can be used for many species. It uses brown rice flour, vermiculite, and half-pint mason jars, among other things. You can learn how to grow Psilocybe mexicana with our full PF Tek guide. 

From a magic mushroom grow kit:

You can grow Psilocybe mexicana from a magic mushroom grow kit. A magic mushroom grow kit is a safe and easy way to grow your own magic mushrooms at home. These kits are delivered straight to your door and are easy to use. They come with the mycelium already grown and inoculated — so, the hard work has been done for you. You can pick Psilocybe mexicana as your strain type, or even a mixture of Psilocybe mexicana and another strain of magic mushroom. This method of how to grow Psilocybe mexicana is easier than PF TEk, and mushroom pinheads can be visible from as soon as 10 days after setting up a magic mushroom grow kit. 

via Wholecelium

Psilocybe Mexicana Potency and Trip

The Psilocybe mexicana mushroom is known to be one of the milder strains of magic mushroom. It is recommended for beginners and newbies to the psychedelic experience. However, this doesn’t mean that Psilocybe mexicana can’t pack a punch. This is an ancient mushroom that was a key part of the spiritual rituals of many indigenous cultures. As Maria Sabina said; 

“There is a world beyond ours that is far away, nearby, and invisible. And that is where God lies, where the dead live, the spirits and the saints, a world where everything has already happened and everything is known. That world… has a language of its own.”

This is the potential power of the Psilocybe mexicana. 

via Creative Commons

Psilocybe mexicana mushrooms are reported to contain up to 0.25 percent psilocybin and 0.25 percent psilocin. The potency also of course depends on whether the mushrooms are consumed fresh or dry. Dried magic mushrooms are far more potent than fresh. Additionally, your dosage will affect how intense your trip is, so be sure to check out our magic mushroom dosage guide

Psilocybe mexicana are a favorite for microdosing due to their comparative lower strength than some other strains. Microdosing is the practice of taking a subthreshold dose of a psychedelic. Tripping is not the desired effect, instead you are supposed to feel slightly enhanced and optimized in your day to day life. Using Psilocybe mexicana as your microdose lessens the chance you will accidentally begin to feel the psychoactive effects at the lowest of doses. 

via Wikimedia Commons

Summary: Psilocybe Mexicana Mushroom

To summarize this iconic mushroom:

  • Psilocybe mexicana is a psychedelic mushroom that has been used in both healing and spiritual rituals by indigenous cultures for millenia. 
  • It was brought to the West by Robert Gordon and Valentina Wasson in the 1950s. 
  • It was cultivated by Roger Heim, and then synthesized by Albert Hofmann in 1958. 
  • It can be identified by its yellow-brownish hue and dark purple spore print. 
  • Psilocybe mexicana’s natural habitat is North and Central America.
  • It likes manure-enriched soils, earning it the nickname ‘Mexican liberty cap’.
  • You can grow this mushroom using Psilocybe mexicana spores.
  • You can also grow this mushroom from a magic mushroom grow kit
  • Psilocybe mexicana are not the most potent strain of magic mushroom but they can cause deep, insightful and colorful psychedelic trips.