Agaricaceae: Bolbitiaceae (cone caps)
The cone caps are small, thin mushrooms of pale color and with conic to bell-shaped caps. The lamellae turn rusty brown as the spores form. Cone caps prefer open forest areas. Some species of the genus contain psilocybin and are psychoactive. A rudimentary cult based around tamu, a Conocybe species known as the mushroom of knowledge, was recently discovered in the Ivory Coast (Samorini 1995). The Mazatec used the species Conocybe siligineoidesHeim, which they referred to as ta’a’ya, as an entheogen. Chemical analyses are lacking (Ott 1993, 313*; Stamets 1996, 176**).
Conocybe cyanopus (Atkins) Kühner (= Conocybe cyanopus (Atkins) Sing.) [syn. Pholiotina cyanopus]—blue-footed cone cap
This mushroom grows in grassy areas and mossy locales from summer to fall. It forms an obtusely convex cap 0.5 to 2.5 cm in diameter. The whitish stem is blue-green at its base and turns blue when squeezed. This mushroom is found in Germany and Switzerland as well as in North America. Generally regarded as poisonous, it contains 0.93% psilocybin (dry weight) and some baeocystin but no psilocin (Gartz 1985, 1992).
The following species also contain psilocybin (Allen et al. 1992, 93**; Gartz 1985):
Conocybe kuehneriana Singer
Conocybe siligineoides Heim—ta’a’ya
Conocybe smithii Watling (also contains baeocystin; Repke et al. 1977)
The tiny fruiting bodies of Conocybe cyanopus contain 0.33 to 0.93% psilocybin. (Photograph: Paul Stamets)
See also the entry for psilocybin.
Benedict, R. G., L. R. Brady, A. H. Smith, and V. E. Tyler. 1962. Occurrence of psilocybin and psilocin in certain Conocybe and Psilocybe species. Lloydia 25:156–59.
Benedict, R. G., V. E. Tyler Jr., and R. Watling. 1967. Blueing in Conocybe, Psilocybe and a Stropharia species and the detection of psilocybin. Lloydia 30:150–57.
Christensen, A. L., K. E. Rasmussen, and K. Høiland. 1984. Detection of psilocybin and psilocin in Norwegian species of Pluteus and Conocybe. Planta Medica 45:341–43.
Gartz, Jochen. 1985. Zur Analytik der Inhaltsstoffe zweier Pilzarten der Gattung Conocybe. Pharmazie 40 (5): 366.
———. 1992. Further investigations on psychoactive mushrooms of the genera Psilocybe, Gymnopilus and Conocybe. Annali dei Musei Civici di Rovereto 7 (1991): 265–74.
Repke, David B., Dale Thomas Leslie, and Gastón Guzmán. 1977. Baeocystin in Psilocybe, Conocybe and Panaeolus. Lloydia 40 (6): 566–78.
Samorini, Giorgio. 1995. Traditional use of psychoactive mushrooms in Ivory Coast? Eleusis 1:22–27.