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

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

Donna Hales next to one of her paintings of Sooke. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville artist Donna Hales still displaying her work at age 94

Current exhibit at the McMillan Arts Centre through April 1

(Philip Wolf photo)
WOLF: What’s in a name (2.0)? Parksville offers interesting list of dog monikers

List includes Rembrandt, Swayze, Zorro, Fabio, Fonzie and Yoda

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

(File photo)
PQB crime report: Thieves pilfer trailer, camera, tools, cigarettes and cleaning supplies

Parksville, Nanoose Bay feature prominently among 226 complaints to Oceanside RCMP

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

The south coast of B.C. as capture by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission. (European Space Agency)
VIDEO: Images of B.C.’s south coast from space released by European Space Agency

The satellite images focus on a variety of the region’s landmarks

A copy of the book “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” by Dr. Seuss, rests in a chair, Monday, March 1, 2021, in Walpole, Mass. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author and illustrator’s legacy, announced on his birthday, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, that it would cease publication of several children’s titles including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo,” because of insensitive and racist imagery. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
6 Dr. Seuss books won’t be published for racist images

Books affected include McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat’s Quizzer

FILE – Oshawa Generals forward Anthony Cirelli, left, shoots and scores his team’s first goal against Kelowna Rockets goalie Jackson Whistle during second period action at the Memorial Cup final in Quebec City on Sunday, May 31, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
B.C. government approves plan in principle to allow WHL to resume in the province

League includes Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Prince George Cougars, Vancouver Giants, Victoria Royals

The fundraising effort to purchase 40 hectares west of Cottonwood Lake announced its success this week. Photo: Submitted
Nelson society raises $400K to save regional park from logging project

The Nelson community group has raised $400,000 to purchase 40 hectares of forest

AstraZeneca’s vaccine ready for use at the vaccination centre in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Reichel/dpa via AP
National panel advises against using Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on seniors

NACI panel said vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are preferred for seniors ‘due to suggested superior efficacy’

A public health order has extended the types of health care professionals who can give the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan)
‘It’s great that midwives are included’ in rollout of B.C.’s COVID vaccine plan, says college

The order will help the province staff the mass vaccination clinics planned for April

Shipping containers are seen at the Fairview Cove Container Terminal in Halifax on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Canadian economy contracted 5.4 per cent in 2020, worst year on record

Drop was largely due to shutdowns in the spring as COVID began to spread

Most Read