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Psilocybe neoxalapensis Guzmán, Ram.-Guill. & Halling

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Scientific name
Psilocybe neoxalapensis
Guzmán, Ram.-Guill. & Halling
Common names
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Preliminary Category
EN A3c
Proposed by
Margarita Villegas
Roberto Garibay Orijel, Margarita Villegas
Ricardo Garcia-Sandoval, Roberto Garibay Orijel
Margarita Villegas

Assessment Notes

This species is known from ten localities in two countries. All the known localities have mountain cloud forest vegetation type, and despite this genus has been extensively studied in the continent, and the world (Guzmán 1983, 2005; Ramírez-Cruz 2010), and the region has been extensively collected, this are the only known localities for the species. Mexican localities are all located near the city of Xalapa, and all the localities are surrounded by urban or suburban areas, Models for the effect of climate change in mountain cloud forest in Mexico, predict a reduction of 68% in forest coverage over the next 60 years (Ponce-Reyes et al 2012). On the other hand, localities in Costa Rica are inside protected areas, and that mitigate the effect of human activities, but the mountain cloud forest still is susceptible to the effect of climate change. Additionally this species have hallucinogenic properties, and in Mexico is considered to be consumed for recreational proposes.
Considering the extent of knowledge for this genus in the area, the ten known localities are considered to represent the know distribution.


Considering the distribution of Psilocybe neoxalapensis, its habitat specificity, and the vulnerability of mountain cloud forests, the species should be listed as Endangered under criteria A3c, because it is suspected a reduction in the area and quality of habitat of more than 50% in the next 50 years (three generations).

Taxonomic notes

This species was first described as Psilocybe novoxalapensis Guzman & J.Q. Jacobs (Guzmán et al. 2005), but later on it was recognized as a nomen nudum, and renamed as Psilocybe neoxalapensis Guzmán, Ram.-Guill. & Halling (Guzmán et al. 2009). It has basidiome up to 50 mm high; reddish brown, becoming blue (cyenescent); pileus conic to campanulate, up to 30 mm diameter; stipe slender (1-2 mm wide), usually with a whitish pseudorhiza up to 150 mm in length. It can be differentiated from similar species by its utriform and branched cheilocystida and small subrhomboidal spores. DNA sequences are available for specimens from the type locality, and its phylogenetic placement in Psilocybe has been corroborated (Ramirez-Cruz et al 2013).

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

Psilocybe neoxalapensis is only known from ten localities in two countries. All the localities have mountain cloud forest vegetation type; seven localities are in Mexico, in suburban areas, and are subject of severe pressures because of human activities. Also, according with current models for the impact of climate change in mountain cloud forest, the Mexican localities will suffer a reduction of 68% in the following 60 years. Additionally this species has hallucinogenic properties and is consumed for recreational purposes. Its reduced distribution, restricted to a very vulnerable vegetation type, and current consumption pattern make this species endangered. 
Considering the distribution of Psilocybe neoxalapensis, its habitat specificity, and the vulnerability of mountain cloud forests, the species should be listed as Endangered under criteria A3c, because it is suspected a reduction in the area and quality of habitat of more than 50% in the next 50 years (three generations).

Geographic range

This species is only known from localities with mountain cloud forest, and it has been collected in seven localities in the State of Veracruz, Mexico, and three localities in central Costa Rica. Mexican localities are located in suburban areas, under a severe pressure. Two of the three localities from Costa Rica are located inside a National Reserve.

Population and Trends

This species is know from Mexico and Costa Rica. In Mexico P. neoxalapensis is known from seven localities, all in the state of Veracruz, and all are mountain cloud forests. Mexican localities are found in suburban areas, in the municipalities of Banderilla, Xalapa, Acajete, Tlalnehuayocan, Rafael Lucio, and Yecuatla, because of its suburban condition, those forest patches are heavily fragmented and under severe pressure. Mexican specimens were collected between 1980 and 1994.
Three additional localities are known from Costa Rica, in the province of San José, were specimens were collected between 1994 and 2003. Those localities have mountain cloud forest vegetation type, and are located inside protected areas.
A total of 82 records are available in GIBF, all from Mexico, corresponding with eleven specimens deposited in XAL herbarium, and human observations; all the specimens and observations correspond to the localities mentioned previously (Guzman 2005, 2009).
Psilocybe has been subject of extensive monographic studies (Guzmán 1983, 1995; Ramírez-Cruz 2010), and this species in particular has been considered in several taxonomic treatments (Guzmán et al. 2005, 2009; Ramírez-Cruz 2010, 2013). Considering the extensive sampling and the several taxonomic treatment for the genus and the species, it is quite likely that the known localities represent the real distribution for this species.

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology

Psilocybe neoxalapensis is assumed to be saprophyte, growing on clay soil, in mountain cloud forest. Solitary or scattered, in embankments, margin of trails, altitudes of 1240-3491 masl
This species is only known from localities with mountain cloud forest, and even when it is not considered to be associated with any particular plant in that vegetation type, no records are available outside this particular kind of vegetation.

Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane Forest


In Mexico threats for this species come from two main sources: the suburban nature of the vegetation patches where the species is known, and the habitat loss due to climate change. Mountain cloud forests represents less than 1% of the forest area in Mexico, and is severely fragmented. This species is known from patches of mountain cloud forest located in suburban areas, were human activities and urbanization constitute a sever pressure for the habitat. Regarding climate change, it has been predicted a reduction of 68% of the mountain cloud fores in Mexico in the next 50 years due to climate change (Ponce-Reyes et al. 2012).
In Costa Rica the principal threats for the species come from the reduction in the habitat due to climate change, considering that the known localities for the species are inside protected areas.

Housing & urban areasCommercial & industrial areasShifting agricultureHabitat shifting & alteration

Conservation Actions

In Mexico the species is considered threatened to extinction in Mexican law, a category broadly equivalent to IUCN CE, but no particular conservation plan has been implemented. The main conservation actions needed are related with the preservation of the habitat. In Mexico, known localities are in suburban areas.
In Costa Rica the known localities are inside protected areas, but there is no particular legislation for the protection of fungal species, and specific programs for this taxa are needed.
Global warming mitigation.

Site/area protectionResource & habitat protectionInternational level

Research needed

Needed research includes the taxonomic study of specimens collected in Costa Rica, in order verify its identity. Also research is needed to explore the presence of the species in protected areas in Mexico with mountain cloud forest.

TaxonomyPopulation size, distribution & trendsArea-based Management Plan

Use and Trade

This species is hallucinogenic, and even when there are no reports of it use as part of ceremonies or other rituals in Mexico, it is suspected to be consumed as a recreational practice. In Mexico its consumption is considered banned by the applicable law, but this is not enforced consistently.

Food - human


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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.
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SEMARNAT (2010). Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-059-ECOL-2010. Protección ambiental. Especies nativas de México de flora y fauna silvestres. Categorías de riesgo y especificaciones para su inclusión, exclusión o cambio. Lista de especies en riesgo. Diario Oficial de la Federación, 30 de Diciembre de 2010.

Country occurrence

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted