The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications

Panaeolus cyanescens Berkeley et Broome






Coprinaceae (Ink Caps); Subfamily Panaeoloideae



Campanularius anomalus Murr.

Campanularius westii Murr.

Copelandia cyanescens (Berk. et Br.) Boedjin

Copelandia cyanescens (Berk. et Br.) Sacc.

Copelandia cyanescens (Berk. et Br.) Sing.

Copelandia papilionacea (Bull. ex Fr.) Bres.

Copelandia papilionacea (Bull.) Bres. non Fr.

Copelandia westii (Murr.) Sing.

Panaeolus anomalus (Murr.) Sacc. et Torr.

Panaeolus westii (Murr.)

Folk Names


Blauender düngerling, blue meanies, faleaitu (Samoan, “spirit house” or “comedy”), falter-düngerling, Hawaiian copelandia, jambur, jamur, pulouaitu (Samoan, “spirit hat”), taepovi (Samoan, “cow patty”), tenkech (Chol)


In the early 1960s, reports emerged from southern France of strange “intoxications” produced by mushrooms that grew on horse dung. The mushrooms were identified as the tropical species Copelandia cyanescens and were analyzed by Albert Hofmann. He found high concentrations of psilocin in the fruiting bodies and only slight quantities of psilocybin (Heim et al. 1966). The reason these mushrooms had so suddenly appeared in France was also discovered. The mushroom grows on horse dung, i.e., in a kind of symbiotic relationship with horses. When horses from Indonesia were brought to southern France to take part in a horse race, the mushroom became established in the wild via their feces (Gerhardt 1987). This species clearly comes from Southeast Asia and occurs in Indonesia, Australia (Low 1990, 206*), and, since ancient times, Samoa (Cox 1981).

Panaeolus cyanescens is easily confused with Panaeolus tropicales and Panaeolus cambodginiensis (cf. Panaeolus spp.). It is possible that the latter species are merely varieties or races and are in fact synonymous with Panaeolus cyanescens.


The tropical mushroom Panaeolus cyanescens [syn. Copelandia cyanescens] prefers to grow on cow or horse dung. (Photographed in Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico.)


The mushroom is cultivated in Bali and purportedly is used both in native festivals and in the tourist trade (Cox 1981, 115). In Java, it may possibly have a long tradition of use as a ritual drug. The Javanese batik artists in Yogyarkata eat jambur mushrooms to obtain inspiration for their artistic endeavors. Not surprisingly, the mushroom is often featured in their art.

In Samoa, the caps are boiled in water for a long period of time until a black juice is produced. This juice is mixed with coffee (cf. Coffea arabica) and drunk. Sometimes the caps are eaten raw and washed down with Coca-Cola. Occasionally, they may be dried and smoked (Cox 1981).

The effects of the mushroom are manifested quite rapidly, as they usually contain a preponderance of psilocin, i.e., the actual active component. It produces strong feelings of euphoria with visual and auditory hallucinations that may last as long as seven hours. Very high dosages can result in loss of muscle control. In Samoa, it is said that regular use of the mushroom will produce a painful red rash around the neck (Cox 1981). This may be due to the presence of urea (Stivje 1987, 1992).

“The blue meanie is the perfect alchemist: it transforms dung into gold, into the golden light of enlightenment.”







This illustration, inspired by the use of mushrooms, clearly depicts jambur mushrooms (Panaeolus cyanescens) at work inside the figure’s head. (Indonesian batik, twentieth century)




See also the entries for Panaeolus spp. and psilocybin.


Cox, Paul Allen. 1981. Use of a hallucinogenic mushroom, Copelandia cyanescens, in Samoa. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 4 (1): 115–16.


Gerhardt, E. 1987. Panaeolus cyanescens (Berk. et Br.) Sacc. und Panaeolus antillarum (Fr.) Dennis, zwei Adventivarten in Mitteleuropa. Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Pilze Mitteleuropas 3:223–27.


Heim, Roger, Albert Hofmann, and H. Tscherter. 1966. Sur une intoxication collective à syndrome psilocybien causée en France par un CopelandiaComptes rendus de l’Académie des Sciences (Paris) 262:519–23.


Stijve, T. 1987. Vorkommen von Serotonin, Psilocybin und Harnstoff in Panaeoloideae. Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Pilze Mitteleuropas 3:229–34.


———. 1992. Psilocin, psilocybin, serotonin and urea in Panaeolus cyanescens from various origins. Persoonia 15:117–21.


Panaeolus subbalteatus Berkeley et Broome


Dark-rimmed Mottlegill




Coprinaceae (Ink Caps); Subfamily Panaeoloideae



Panaeolus cinctulus Bolt.

Panaeolus subalteatus (misspelling!)

Panaeolus subbalteatus (Berk. et Br.) Sacc.

Panaeolus venenosus Murr.

Folk Names


Dunkelrandiger düngerling, gezoneerde vlek plaat (Dutch), gezonter düngerling, magusotake (Japanese, “horse pasture mushroom”)


This fungus is common throughout Europe and is also found in the subtropics and tropics (Asia, the Americas). It thrives in fields fertilized with manure, in grassy soil, and especially in horse pastures and in connection with horse manure. Its somewhat convex cap quickly becomes plane and is 2 to 6 cm in diameter. It is initially moist and brown but fades in the center as it dries, so that the margin often appears much darker (which accounts for its German name dunkelrandiger düngerling (“dark-banded dung mushroom”). The reddish brown lamellae are emarginate and later turn black because of the spores. This species is easily confused with the changing pholiota (Kuehneromyces mutabilis [Schaef. ex Fr.] Sing. et Smith) (Roth et al. 1990, 95**).

No traditional uses of this mushroom are known. It is possible that it was used as an additive to the mead or beer of the Germanic peoples. The mushroom does have a symbiotic connection to the horse, the sacred animal of Wotan, the Germanic god of ecstasy.

Panaeolus subbalteatus contains approximately 0.7% psilocybin and 0.46% baeocystin along with large amounts of serotonin and 5-hydroxytryptophan, but it does not contain psilocin (Gartz 1989). It is questionable whether serotonin can in fact reach the brain when the mushrooms are ingested. Experimental pharmacology has demonstrated that serotonin is not absorbed by the brain when ingested orally. Nevertheless, according to all reported experiences, the effects of Panaeolus subbalteatus differ from the effects of mushrooms that contain only psilocybin; they are more empathogenic and aphrodisiac and yet still visionary. The individual visions can be observed for longer periods of time and contemplated at a leisurely pace. Psychoactive effects are produced by as little as 1.5 g dry weight (Stein 1959); a visionary dosage is 2.7 g. The psychoactivity of this mushroom was discovered following its accidental ingestion (Bergner and Oettel 1971).


Panaeolus subbalteatus is found chiefly in the immediate vicinity of horse stud farms. (Photographed near the Externsteine, a series of standing stones)



The cover of this CD by Shaw Blades, with the telling title Hallucination, features specimens of Panaeolus subbalteatus in the right foreground. (Warner Bros. Records, 1995)


Panaeolus subbalteatus is the classic Druid mushroom.”




“Horse manure also has a chance in the time of the giant mushrooms.”






(BLYTH 1973, 11*)




See also the entries for Panaeolus spp. and psilocybin.


Bergner, H., and R. Oettel. 1971. Vergiftungen durch Düngerlinge. Mykologisches Mitteilungsblatt 15:61–63.


Brodie, H. J. 1935. The heterothallism of Panaeolus subbalteatus Berk., a sclerotium-producing agaric. Canadian Journal of Research 12:657–60.


Gartz, Jochen. 1989. Analyse der Indolderivate in Fruchtkörpern und Mycelien von Panaeolus subbalteatus (Berk. et Br.) Sacc. Biochemie und Physiologie der Pflanzen 184:171–78.


Stein, Sam I. 1959. Clinical observations on the effect of Panaeolus venenosus versus Psilocybe caerulescens mushrooms. Mycologia 51:49–50.


Panaeolus spp.


Panaeolus Mushrooms




Coprinaceae (Ink Caps); Subfamily Panaeoloideae The cosmopolitan genus Panaeolus, with more than twenty species, forms fragile fruiting bodies that are small to medium in size. The caps are usually hemispheric to campanulate. The pale lamellae become increasingly dark as the black spores develop. Panaeolus mushrooms grow on nutrient-rich, grassy soils or dung.

Panaeolus acuminatus (Schaeffer) Quélet sensu Ricken [syn. Panaeolus rickenii Hora]


Found in North America; said to be psychoactive, although no analyses have detected psilocybin or psilocin.

Panaeolus africanus Ola’h—African panaeolus


Found from central Africa to Sudan; thrives in rhinoceros and elephant dung. It contains various quantities of psilocybin and psilocin.

Panaeolus antillarum (Fries) Dennis sensu Dennis [syn. Panaeolus phalaenarum (Fr.) Quélet, Panaeolus sepulcralis Berk., Anellaria sepulchralis (Berk.) Singer]—Antilles panaeolus


While this mushroom is regarded as psychoactive, it does not always contain active substances (Merlin and Allen 1993**).


This old English illustration of “poisonous mushrooms or those that are usually not eaten” may represent a Panaeolus species with a wavy cap. (Woodcut from Gerard, The Herball or General History of Plants, 1633*)


Panaeolus ater (Lange) Kühner et Romagnesi—black panaeolus


Now considered to be a synonym for Panaeolus fimicola.

Panaeolus cambodginiensis Ola’h et Heim [syn. Copelandia cambodginiensis (Ola’h et Heim) Singer—gold top


Contains 0.55 to 0.6% psilocybin and psilocin (Merlin and Allen 1993).

Panaeolus castaneifolius (Murrill) Ola’h [syn. Panaeolina castaneifolius (Murr.) Smith]


Contains traces of active compounds.

Panaeolus cinctulus Bolt.


Regarded as a synonym for Panaeolus subbalteatus.

Panaeolus fimicola (Fries) Gillet [syn. Panaeolus ater (Lange) Kühner et Romagnesi]


Found in Africa, the Americas, and Europe; contains only trace amounts of psilocybin and psilocin (Roth et al, 1990, 95**). This small, reddish to brown-black mushroom (cap 2 to 4 cm across) thrives in grassy forest areas.

Panaeolus foenisecii (Fries) Kühner [syn. Panaeolina foenisecii (Pers.: Fr.) Maire = Panaeolus foeniseci (Pers.: Fr.) Schroeter]—haymaker’s panaeolus


This cosmopolitan mushroom grows in central Europe from spring until fall on freshly mown meadows, along roadsides, and in pastures. Not all samples have been found to contain psilocybin (Allen and Merlin 1992; Gartz 1985a).

Panaeous olivaceus Moller


A Finnish sample was found to contain psilocybin.


A tropical Panaeolus species that thrives on cow dung and has psychoactive effects. (Photographed in Belize)



It is uncertain whether Panaeolus papilionaceus [syn. Panaeolus campanulatusPanaeolus sphinctrinus] is psychoactive. (Photographed near the Externsteine, a series of standing stones)


Panaeolus papilionaceus (Bull. ex Fries) Quélet [syn. Agaricus callosus Fr., Agaricus (Panaeolussphinctrinus Fries, Panaeolus campanulatus (Fries) Quélet, Panaeolus retirugis (Fries) Quélet, Panaeolus sphinctrinus(Fries) Quélet]


This mushroom is quite variable, which is why it was formerly divided into different species that are now regarded as synonymous. It apparently occurs in different chemical races; some of these contain psilocybin, while others are lacking in psychoactive substances. Serotonin has also been detected (Gartz 1985b). It grows in pastures, in nutrientrich meadows with dung deposits, and directly on dung. It is found throughout the world, including central Europe.

In Japan, this mushroom is known as warai-take, “laughing mushroom” (cf. Gymnopilus spp.). In ancient China, it was called hsiao-ch’ün, which has the same meaning. Consumption of the mushroom was known to result in “excessive laughter” (Li 1975, 175*).

During his attempts to find the Mexican magic mushroom, Richard Evans Schultes identified as teonanacatl a variety of this species: Panaeolus campanulatus L. var. sphinctrinus (Fries) Bres. [syn. Panaeolus papilionaceus] (Schultes 1939**). The psychoactivity of this species, however, is doubtful.

In addition to the fly agaric mushroom (Amanita muscaria), Graves regarded Panaeolus papilionaceus, which is “still used by Portuguese witches,” as an additional candidate for the divine ambrosia and nectar (1966, 45*). To support his hypothesis, he cited a number of myths and works of art, including an Attic vase that depicts Nessus, the centaur. A mushroom can be seen sprouting from between his hooves. This fungal ambrosia later became the sacrament of the Eleusinian and Orphic mysteries. Graves even etymologically associated the word kekyon (= kykeon; cf. Claviceps purpurea) with the word mykon (“mushroom”). In Greek folklore, mushrooms are still referred to as the “food of the gods” (Ripinisky-Naxon 1988, 5*).

Panaeolus semiovatus Fries (Lundell) [syn. Panaeolus separatus Gillet, Anellaria separata Karst.]


Found throughout North America; may contain psilocybin.

Panaeolus tropicales Ola’h [syn. Copelandia tropicales (Ola’h) Sing. et Weeks]—tropical panaeolus


Found in tropical regions of Hawaii, central Africa, and Cambodia (cf. Panaeolus cyanescens).


Panaeolus papilionaceus is a common species found throughout the world. (From Winkler, 2000 Pilze selber bestimmen [Identify 2000 Fungi Yourself], 1996**)




See also the entries for Panaeolus cyanescens and Panaeouls subbalteatus.


Allen, John W., and Mark D. Merlin. 1992. Observations regarding the suspected psychoactive properties of Panaeolina foenisecii Maire. Yearbook for Ethnomedicine and the Study of Consciousness, 1992 (1): 99–115. Berlin: VWB.


Breitfeld, Matthias. 1996. Der falsche Pilz der Götter. Der Tintling 4:4–5.


Gartz, Jochen. 1985a. Zum Nachweis der Inhaltsstoffe einer Pilzart der Gattung PanaeolusPharmazie 40 (6): 431–32.


———. 1985b. Zur Analyse von Panaeolus campanulatus (Fr.) Quél. Pharmazie 40 (6): 432.


Gurevich, L. S. 1993. Indole derivatives in certain Panaeolus species from east Europe and Siberia. Mycological Research 97: 251–54.


Moser, M. 1984. Panaeolus alcidis, a new species from Scandinavia and Canada. Mycologia 76 (3): 551–54.


Ola’h, G. M. 1968. Étude chromataxinomique sur les Panaeolus, recherches sur les présences des corps indoliques psychotropes dans ces champignons. Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sciences 267:1369–72.


———. 1969. A taxonomic and physiological study of the genus Panaeolus with the Latin descriptions of the new species. Review of Mycology 33:284–90.


———. 1970. Le Genre PanaeolusRevue de Mycologie, Mémoire, Hors-Série 10:1–273.


Pollock, Steven H. 1974. A novel experience with Panaeolus: A case study from Hawaii. Journal of Psychedelic Drugs 6 (1): 85–89.


———. 1976. Psilocybian mycetismus with special reference to PanaeolusJournal of Psychedelic Drugs 8 (1): 43–57.


Robbers, J. E., V. E. Tyler, and G. M. Ola’h. 1969. Additional evidence supporting the occurrence of psilocybin in Panaeolus foeniseciiLloydia 32 (3): 399–400.


Weeks, R. Arnold, Rolf Singer, and William Lee Hearn. 1979. A new psilocybian species of CopelandiaJournal of Natural Products 42 (5): 469–74.

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