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

Santa will be in Honeymoon Bay on Dec. 13. (File photo)
Santa to visit Honeymoon Bay on Dec. 13

Families must call ahead due to pandemic

“Say cheese, uh, apple… nine-year-old Jason Moran and mum Bonnie are all smiles over a number of sales made during “apple day” of local cubs and beavers. Jason, a wolf cub, was one of 22 boys who, with the ready assistance of mothers, sold several boxes of apples in money-raising scheme for various projects.” (<em>The Lake News</em> Nov. 26, 1980)
Flashback: Crime wave, canoe misfortune and a highway lawsuit

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Following too closely

Maintaining a buffer in front of your vehicle gives you time to recover from inattention

Sonia Furstenau
Sonia Furstenau column: MLA vows to keep up the fight

COVID-19 continues to strain our communities

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Langley RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the Riverside Calvary church in Langley in the 9600 block of 201 Street for holding an in-person service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, despite a provincial COVID-19 related ban (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)
Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Calvary church was fined $2,300 for defying provincial order

A pedestrian makes their way through the snow in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Wild winter, drastic swings in store for Canada this year: Weather Network

In British Columbia and the Prairies, forecasters are calling for above-average snowfall levels

NDP Leader John Horgan, left, speaks as local candidate Ravi Kahlon listens during a campaign stop at Kahlon’s home in North Delta, B.C., on April 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

Most Read