Some science behind the scenes

Inocybe mushrooms

Inocybe is a large, complex genus of mushrooms. Members of Inocybe are mycorrhizal, and some evidence shows that the high degree of speciation in the genus is due to adaptation to different trees and perhaps even local environments.

Inocybe species are not considered suitable for consumption. Many species contain large doses of muscarine.  Muscarine is found in certain mushrooms, particularly in Inocybe and Clitocybe species, and was first isolated from Amanita muscaria in 1869. It can cause convulsions and death.  Thus any hallucinations reported are usually due to poisoning.

No easy method of distinguishing the muscarine containing varieties from the potentially edible species exists. In fact, Inocybe is the most commonly-encountered mushroom genus for which microscopic characteristics are the only means of certain identification to the species level.

While the vast majority of Inocybes are toxic, seven rare species of Inocybe contain psilocybin, but distinguishing them from the other varieties requires expert help.  Given the fact that Inocybe mushrooms can result in death from asphyxiation, it hardly seems worth the risk!  These include:

  • Inocybe aeruginascen [ which also contains aeruginascine]
  • Inocybe corydalina var. corydalina
  • Inocybe calamistrata
  • Inocybe coelestium
  • Inocybe corydalina var. erinaceomorpha 
  • Inocybe haemacta
  • Inocybe tricolor