Psilocybe quebecensis

Psilocybe quebecensis
  • Found in Quebec, Canada. Rarely found or studied
  • Prefers wash-outs of woody debris from streams
  • Moderate potency, does not fruit artificially
  • Mild flavour and scent

Psilocybe quebecensis is a little-studied mushroom that holds the title of northern-most Psilocybe species. It is usually found on woody debris in the Canadian province of Quebec, specifically on wash-outs from waterways and floods. The fruiting bodies are normally found alone or in small groups and have a few distinct characteristics.

This species readily bruises blue with age or handling and have translucent striations on the cap when wet. This bluing reaction extends to the stipe, where long “rhizomorphs” (root-like structures) are habitually found near the base. Older mushrooms may have a nearly flat cap that wrinkles with age. Fruiting tends to occur year after year in the same location, areas of discovery should be marked or noted.

While P. quebecensis has a moderate potency, containing both psilocybin and psilocin, they must be cultivated in the wild. This species resists fruiting either mushrooms or sclerotia when cultivated artificially. They are found at the end of summer or into the autumn throughout its range, most recently extended into the state of Michigan in the USA. Their fruiting requires a low temperature shift, to near or below 6-15°C (43-59°F).

Though considered rare, this species is suspected to be more widespread, prevented by their small size, and low population density of Quebec. In the same range, other Psilocybe species share similar appearances, namely P. baeocystis and P. caerulipes, the latter being differentiated by a subtler blueing reaction. If discovered, they have a radish-like, floury scent and a mild, herbal, floury flavour.

An enigmatic species, P. quebecensis is hindered by its fickleness in artificial cultivation. For those lucky enough to discover a local patch, a yearly tradition can be expected if the place if remembered. A pleasing flavour and scent, and moderate potency, combine to make this sub-arctic species memorable.