- Small, moderate potency
- “Blue-foot” is a defining characteristic
- North America, found on woody debris
- Confused with other species in its range
Psilocybe caerulipes is frequently known as the “blue-foot” mushroom, referring to the often blue-hued base of their stipe. While the base often has a blue tinge, and the cap a greenish hue, the rest of the fruiting body has a delayed and mild bluing reaction that so often characterizes the Psilocybe genus. This peculiarity is one of the few ways to differentiate this species from P. quebecensis, which inhabits a similar range but displays a much more significant bluing reaction to handling and damage.
While the reaction, that is often associated with psychoactive alkaloids, may be mild, this does not predict the potency of this species. It contains significant levels of both psilocybin and psilocin, placing it with the moderately potent species such as P. cubensis, though it has a much more variable potency than other similar species. The result is a possibly strong experience from only one to three grams of dried fruiting body, even though these mushrooms have a smaller average size than other Psilocybe species.
Their small size is one way to identify this species in the wild, though unreliable. It may be confused with its cousin P. ovoideocystidiata and some other non-psilocybe species. It generally has a cinnamon brown cap that remains shiny when it is dried. It is found in the Northeastern United States, North to Canada and as far south as Mexico. In its natural range, it grows from May to December on woody debris and forest floors, though it is still very rare.
The rarity of this species continues into home cultivation, where spores may be difficult to acquire. Its mild scent and flavour may have contributed to its possible use among ancient people of Mexico and North America, though other species of the Psilocybe genus are more likely to have been used. While little separates this mushroom from the crowd of hallucinogenic species, it incorporates all the benefits of what makes the genus unique.