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

COVID-19: Latest message from Qualicum Beach

Town officials conducted spot inspection on re-opened farmers market

COVID-19: Parksville council moves to Zoom, talks property tax and grants

Money for cancelled events now expected to be returned to the city

PQB crime report: Thieves pilfer fuel from vehicles

Oceanside RCMP receive 229 complaints in one-week period

Nanaimo, Royal Jubilee to be Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 frontline hospitals

Other Island hospitals will be admitting COVID-19 patients and will be used in a support role

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Revenue dip needed to qualify for wage subsidy drops to 15% in March: Trudeau

Wage subsidy would over 75% of each employee’s salary for qualifying businesses

B.C. closes all provincial parks for COVID-19 protection

Easter weekend approaches, camping already closed

Air Canada says it will apply for wage subsidy to rehire workers after cutting 16,500 jobs

Air Canada said March revenues fell by more than 30 per cent year over year

Canadians urged to include pets in their COVID-19 emergency plans

That includes plans about who will care for them if the owner is hospitalized

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19 world update: Joy in Wuhan as lockdown lifted; Pope denounces profiteers

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news items from around the world

COVID-19 PQB business update: looking for takeout food?

Email messages to editor@pqbnews.com

Easter Bunny not a COVID-19 carrier, allowed to do drop offs

World Health Organization grants permission to Bunny as he cannot transfer the virus

Most Read