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Psilocybe mammillata (Murrill) A.H. Sm.

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Scientific name
Psilocybe mammillata
(Murrill) A.H. Sm.
Common names
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Preliminary Category
EN Ac3
Proposed by
Ricardo Garcia-Sandoval
Ricardo Garcia-Sandoval, Roberto Garibay Orijel
Roberto Garibay Orijel
Comments etc.
Anders Dahlberg

Assessment Notes

This species is only known from the neotropical mountain cloud forest, were six out of seven subpopulations are known, the remaining subpopulation is located at Florida, in the Caribbean region where the species was originally described, and only nine specimens have been collected since it was described in 1918 (three in the type locality).
This genus has been extensively studied in the region, and at global scale,  and three monographic treatments are available (Guzman 1983, 1995; Ramirez-Cruz 2010). Despite the research in the genus, only seven subpopulations, and nine specimens are known, this may be indicative of a high level of rareness of the species.
All the subpopulations of this species develop in mountain cloud forest, but one, which is located in tropical forest at sea level at Florida. This species is saprophytic, and this characteristic may have favored the establishment of the subpopulation in the Florida, in the same region (the Caribbean) where the type locality is (Jamaica). Even so, only one specimen has been collected in Florida (Dennise 1968).
Considering that most of the known subpopulations are located in mountain cloud forest, and that vegetation type is predicted to be reduced because of the effect of climate change (Ponce-Reyes 2012), it is likely that this species will face severe reduction in habitat extension and quality in the next years.
Considering the rareness of the species, and the vulnerability of its habitat, this species is considered Endangered.


There are only seven subpopulations known for this species, six of which are located in mountain cloud forest.  Four of the mountain cloud forest subpopulatins are in Mexico, and are predicted to be reduced in 68% oven the next 60 years. Even when there are no models for the other two subpopulations in mountain cloud forest (Bolivia and Jamaica), it is likely to assume similar effects, as long as the phenomenon of the climate change is global, and the subpopulations are in the same region (the Neotropic). Considering this potential reduction, this species is Endangered because of criteria A3c, it is likely to assume a reduction of at least 50% in its habitat quality/extension over the next 50 years.

Taxonomic notes

Psilocybe mammillata (Murrill) A.H. Sm., Mycologia 40 (6): 700 (1948)
≡Astylospora mammillata Murrill, Mycologia 10 (1): 23 (1918)
≡Psathyra mammillata (Murrill) Murrill, Mycologia 10 (1): 33 (1918)
=Astylospora cinchonensis Murrill, Mycologia 10 (1): 24 (1918)
=Psathyra cinchonensis (Murrill) Murrill, Mycologia 10 (1): 33 (1918)

This species was described from Jamaica by Murrill (1918), and it is known from the Bolivia, Mexico and USA. This species was described in the genus Astylospora, but an additional combination in the genus Psathyra was provided in the same protologue “For the convenience of those who prefer older nomenclature…” (Murrill, 1918: 33).
Few years later Smith (1948) relocate the species in Psilocybe, and synonymize it with Artylospora cinshonensis (=Psathyra cinchonensis), because both species are “...identical microscopically…” and “...gill spacing did not appear distinctive.” between both species.
Subsequent authors as Dennise (1968) and Guzman (1983, 1995) also recognize both species as synonyms.

Description from Smith 1948
Spores 5-6 (7) x 4.5-5 p, smooth, triangular in face view, some ovate-angular, in side view subelliptic to ovate, dull ochraceous tawny revived in KOH, with a small apical pore; basidia hyaline in KOH, 13-15 x 5-6 /, four-spored; pleurocystidia similar to cheilocystidia; cheilocystidia small and inconspicuous, 12-18 x 4-8 u, fusoid-ventricose or the apices subcapitate, hyaline; gill trama parallel, pale yellowish bister from a pigment which encrusts the hyphae, darker near subhymenium; pileus trama homogeneous, the hyphae near the surface a darker yellowish brown (bister) than those toward the subhymenium, clamp connections present.

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

Psilocybe mammillata only known from seven subpopulations distributed in four countries, in the Neotropical region, and in Florida (USA), and it has been collected only eight times since 1908. The Florida subtropical forest is considered its northernmost distribution limit.
Six of the subpopulations have mountain cloud forest type, and four of those are located in Mexico, were that vegetation type is predicted to be reduce in 68% over the next 60 years (Ponce-Reyes et al 2012), and the subpopulations also are under pressure because of human activities. 
This is a very rare species endemic to the Neotropical mountain cloud forests. As this ecosystem is severely threatened by global warming, the habitat of the species will suffer a huge reduction in the next three generations. In consequence, it should be listed as Endangered under criteria A3c.

Geographic range

Even while there are few localities know, they clearly depict that Psilocybe mamillata distributes thru the Neotropics.
Mexico. Oaxaca: Road Oaxaca City to Pochutla, La Calera. Veracruz: West of Minatitlan North of Cosolacaque; Huayacocotla, La Selva; Road Jalapa-Perote, Plan de Serdeño.
USA. Florida: Hammock State Park.
Bolivia. La Paz: Nor-Yungas, Coroico.
Jamaica. Cinchona State Park.

Population and Trends

This species is known from eight subpopulations in four countries, but since it was described in 1918, it has been collected less than 10 times, and only very few specimens are available. Thus Psilocybe mammillata is a very rare species with a wide distribution range.
The type locality is at the Blue Mountains, in Cinchona Park, Jamaica, and the vegetation type is mountain cloud forest (Dennise 1968). Three specimens have been collected there, in 1908 and 1949. Besides those, there are no additional records for the locality, but the subpopulation may be stable considering the region is under some protective regime.
Subpopulations in Mexico are located in Oaxaca and Veracruz, in vegetation patches with mountain cloud forest type. Any of the four subpopulations, three in Veracruz and one in Oaxaca, are under some protective regime, and all are located in suburban areas, subject to the effects of human activities, and the projected effects of climate change over mountain cloud forest (Ponce-Peyes 2012). The most recent specimen from Mexico was collected in 1992 (Guzman 2004).
The subpopulation in Florida, USA, is located in the Highlands Hammock State Park, with a subtropical forest. The area is a park under a protective regime, and the subpopulation may be considered stable, because it is not subject to the effect of human activities, other than camping and similar.
The subpopulation in Bolivia is located in Coroico, near La Paz, in a locality with mountain cloud forest. The land in the area is a communal property, and the main use is tourism, there is no formal conservation plan, but it is likely that activities as farming or cattle are minimal.

Population Trend: Uncertain

Habitat and Ecology

This species is only known from localities with mountain cloud forest, with the exception of the locality in Florida, which has a subtropical forest, but at sea level.
This species grows solitary or gregarious in small groups, on clay soil or very rotten wood, sometimes in humus, along trails inside forest.
This species is assumed to be saprophytic, and hallucinogenic, and even when it is not consumed as part of a biocultural activities, it is likely to be consumed with recreational purposes.
Considering the saprophytic nature of the species, it can not be assumed an strict specificity to the mountain cloud forest, even when all but one of the known subpopulations are in that vegetation type. It is likely that the species can establish outside mountain cloud forest, like is the case in Florida, but the only specimen collected in that habitat dates from 1958, and any additional specimen has been collected in that locality, and any other habitat has been reported despite extensive explorations (Guzman 1983, 1995; Ramirez-Cruz 2010).
The species is mostly known from mountain cloud forest, and at least in Mexico, this vegetation type is predicted to be reduced in 68% over the next 60 years because of the effects of the climate change (Ponce-Reyes 2012). Even when the predictions are for Mexican forest, the effects are likely to be similar in the habitat of the other subpopulations as long as the phenomenon (climate change) is global.

Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland ForestSubtropical/Tropical Moist Montane Forest


Threats for this species come mostly from the habitat loss, because of the effects of the climate change. Six of the seven known subpopulations are located in areas with mountain cloud forest. Four of the six localities with mountain cloud forest (the ones in Mexico) are without any conservation program, and additional threats comes from human activity. Two subpopulations with mountain cloud forest (Bolivia and Jamaica) have some level of protection, but are still susceptible to the effects of climate change. The subpopulation with a different habitat (Florida) may be very small, considering that only one specimen has been collected since 1958, and the area is frequently explored (692 records for the park in Mycoportal). Marginal threats may come from its consumption with recreational purposes, considering that the species have hallucinogenic properties.

Housing & urban areasTourism & recreation areasShifting agricultureSmall-holder grazing, ranching or farmingIntentional use (species being assessed is the target)Habitat shifting & alteration

Conservation Actions

Conservation actions for this species are related with the preservation of the habitat and global warming mitigation. This species is saprophytic and most of the subpopulations known (six out of seven), are located in patches of mountain cloud forest, only one subpopultion is located at sea level in a tropical forest (Florida). In Mexico, were four out of seven subpopulations are located, the mountain cloud forest is predicted to reduce in 68% over the next 60 years, because of the effect of climate change (Ponce-Reyes 2012). Even when this projections were made for Mexican forest, it is likely that similar effects will happen over the forest in the whole region (neotropical mountain cloud forest).

Site/area protectionResource & habitat protectionInternational level

Research needed

Research needed for this species includes more intensive exploration in order to locate more subpopulations, and in the previous sites in order to obtain additional specimens, and to produce DNA sequences. Also additional research in needed for the study of specimens deposited in fungaria, because this species can be mistaken with others like Psilocybe cordispora.

TaxonomyPopulation size, distribution & trends

Use and Trade

This species is hallucinogenic, and its assumed to be consumed for recreational purposes. There are no records of a particular use or trade.

Food - human


Dennis, R. W. G. (1968). Some Agaricales from the blue Mountains of Jamaica. Kew Bulletin, 22(1), 73-85.
Guzmán, G. (2005). Species Diversity of the Genus Psilocybe (Basidio- mycotina, Agaricales, Strophariaceae) in the World Mycobiota, with Special Attention to Hallucinogenic Properties. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 7, 305-331.
Guzmán, G., Jacobs, J. Q., Ramírez-Guillén, F., Murrieta, D. y Gándara, E. (2005). The Taxonomy of Psilocybe fagicola-complex. The Journal of Microbiology, 43(2), 158-165
Guzmán, G. (1983). The genus Psilocybe. Nova Hedwigia 74, Cramer.
Guzmán, G. (1995). Supplement to the monograph of the genus Psilocybe. Taxonomic Monographs of Agaricales. Bibliotheca Mycologica 159, 91-141.
Guzmán, G., Escalona, F., & Ramírez-Guillén, F. (2004). Nuevos registros en México de especies de Psilocybe (Basidiomycotina, Agaricales, Strophariaceae). Scientia Fungorum, 3(19), 23-31.
Guzmán, G., Horak, E., Halling, R., Ramírez-Guillén, F. (2009). Further studies on Psilocybe from thr Caribbean, Central America and South America, with descriptions of new species and remarks to new records. Sidowia 61, 215-242.
Murrill, W. A. (1918). The Agaricaceae of Tropical North America—VII. Mycologia, 10(1), 15-33.
Ponce-Reyes, R., Nicholson, E., Baxter, P. W. J., Fuller, R. A. and Possingham, H. (2012). Extinction risk in cloud forest fragments under climate change and habitat loss. Diversity and Distributions 19, 518–529.
Ramírez-Cruz, V. (2010). Taxonomía y análisis filogenético del género Psilocybe sensu lato (Fungi, Agaricales). Tesis de Doctorado en Ciencias en Biosistemática, Ecología y Manejo de Recursos Naturales y Agrícolas. Universidad de Guadalajara, México.
Ramírez-Cruz,V.,  Guzmán, G., Villalobos-Arámbula, A.R., Rodríguez, A., Matheny, P.B., Sánchez-García, M. and Guzmán-Dávalos, L. (2013). Phylogenetic inference and trait evolution of the psychedelic mushroom genus Psilocybe sensu lato (Agaricales). Botany 91, 573–591.
Smith, A. H. (1948). Studies in the dark-spored agarics. Mycologia, 40(6), 669-707.

Known distribution - countries

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted