Psilocybe cyanescens, or the Wavy Cap have psychedelic affects, but can be easily confused with a different, deadly species. (Wikimedia Commons)

Experts warn against picking Vancouver Island’s magic mushrooms species

The commonly-seen mushroom can easily be mistaken for its deadly relatives

Mushroom enthusiasts may already be well aware that some species have a more “magical” component to them, but many Greater Victoria residents don’t know that this infamous species also grows in abundance on the Island.

Psilocybe mushrooms, known more commonly as magic mushrooms, are largely popular with people who take psychedelic drugs recreationally. Mushroom species in the Psilocybe family are potent in hallucinogenic components psilocybin and psilocin, which affect people after it’s been ingested. However, mushroom experts warn that going looking for a good trip could lead to deadly consequences.

ALSO READ: Second puppy killed by poisonous mushrooms in Victoria

Brian Starzomski is the director of the School of Environment at the University of Victoria, and an Ian McTaggart Cowen Professor of biodiversity conservation and ecological restoration. He says that locally, the most commonly encountered species is Psilocybe cyanescens, or the Wavy Cap, which are small brown mushrooms with wavy tops.

“They are easily confused with other small brown mushrooms, many of which are poisonous to various degrees,” Starzomski said, noting that Galerina mushrooms look similar and are deadly. “People have died from eating related species in this genus.”

ALSO READ: Island Health issues warning after death cap mushrooms found in Greater Victoria

The magic mushrooms often grow on wood chips and are encountered by gardeners, as are many other species.

Starzomski cautions that people should not be picking the mushrooms with hopes of a psychedelic experience.

“My caution is that they can be very dangerous and shouldn’t be consumed,” he said, adding that any mushroom pickers should always seek out help in identifying any species. “Always ask for help if you’re not 100 per cent sure.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicinews.com

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

UVic

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver poet to read at Alberni Valley Words on Fire

Cynthia Sharp was the City of Richmond’s 2019 Writer in Residence

Port Alberni homeowners wake up to would-be thief in their basement

Stolen items later found stashed at the end of the street

Shadow of Murder opens Feb. 21 at Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni

Classic whodunit comes from Canadian playwright Elizabeth Elwood

Wounded Warrior Run gets personal for Port Alberni RCMP participant

Run will come to Port Alberni on Thursday, Feb. 27; fundraising dinner planned for Legion Br. 293

UPDATE: Two killed in fiery collision on Highway 1 near Revelstoke

The Trans Canada Highway was closed for four hours

Father, two children killed after car goes over embankment on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

Comox Valley cat rescue organization hit by camera theft

“Someone is taking from an organization trying to help cats who are surviving in the wild.”

Trout ‘doing quite well’ at Kootenay hatchery after otters, who ate 150 fish, relocated

River otters had been pillaging a moat outside the facility for months, gobbling up about 150 trout

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

Trudeau revisits blackface embarrassment during Black History Month

Photos and a video of Trudeau wearing makeup to darken his skin surfaced during last fall’s election campaign

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

Most Read