Observation 21612: Deconica (W.G. Sm.) P. Karst.

When: 2009-06-02

Collection location: Strouds Run State Park, Athens, Ohio, USA [Click for map]

Who: Dan Molter (shroomydan)

No specimen available

These little psilocybes were growing from a pile of chips that a woodpecker left beside a fallen log. This is the same patch observed last fall:

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Eye3 = Observer’s choice
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By: Paul Derbyshire (Twizzler)
2009-06-08 15:42:13 PDT (-0700)

“If the bluing reaction is the character used to infer diverging clades, then all members of the bluing clade would necessarily display the bluing reaction.”

This seems simplistic to me. Consider the tetrapodia, the clade of animals with four limbs. Most have the four-limbs trait since this group split off from the rest of the vertebrates (at the time, all fish) around 400 million years ago. But since then, there have been at least three sub-clades that have lost it: legless salamanders branched from the other amphibians at one point, snakes from the other reptiles at another, and cetaceans from the other mammals at a third. All of these lost the hind limbs, though vestigial traces can be found in their skeletal structures, and have lost or modified the forelimbs. And at least four more clades have just modified the forelegs: three into wings (pterosaurs, birds, and bats, the former two splitting from dinosaurs and the latter from mammals), and one into arms with hands (hominins, splitting from other great apes). (The wings developed in two different ways, also: pterosaurs and bats webbed their fingers and eventually turned their hands into large membranous wings with modified finger bones as spars; birds modified the whole arm into a feathered wing, leaving a vestigial hand at the wingtip, often modified into talons or else near-nonexistence. Of course none of this was done intentionally; please don’t misread the above as implying that they thought about it, or that any Lysenko-like directed modification occurred.)

seriously doubt these are hallucinogenic
By: Dan Molter (shroomydan)
2009-06-08 14:37:20 PDT (-0700)

They don’t have the smell, and the darkening toward the base of the stipe is more dark purple than psilocybe blue.

About the distinction between the blueing and non-blueing clades. A clade is a branch on the evolutionary tree of life. The tree of life is a scientific model first drawn by Darwin. Branches of the tree represent lines of descent; nodes represent historical events where one species evolves into two or more species. The logic of the tree model fits well with alopatric speciation, whereby a single population of interbreeding organisms splits into two or more geographically and reproductively isolated groups. Two evolutionary paths diverge from one.

The logic of the tree model fails to capture another equally important mechanism of evolution, the merging of two lines into one. This can happen through hybridization, endosymbiosis, and horizontal gene transfer. To Darwin’s credit, divergence is the mechanism driving most animal evolution. Merging genomes, on the other hand, are a staple of microbial evolution.

The tree is a scientific model that works pretty good for graphing some kinds of evolution, and not so good for mapping other kinds of evolution. Clades are pieces of the model. They are parts of a speculation about a history that must be infered rather than witnessed.

When one makes the claim that there are two clades of psilocybe, the bluing and the non-blueing clade, one is inferring that at some point in the past a single population of psilocybes diverged into two separate evolutionary lineages. In order to make this inference, one must apply the theoretical device, the tree model, to the empirical evidence at hand. With mushrooms, this evidence is almost always morphological. If the bluing reaction is the character used to infer diverging clades, then all members of the bluing clade would necessarily display the bluing reaction.

However, the bluing reaction is found in many genera of psilocybin producing mushrooms. This trait seems to pop up in random species of many brown-spored mushrooms. What makes it a good character for splitting Psilocybe, but not Gymnopilus, Inocybe, or Galerina? I’m just curious if other traits were used to infer the evolutionary split. If there are a cluster of traits distinguishing the two groups, then there could conceivably be a species of the bluing line that evolved away from psilocin production and lost the disposition to bruise blue.

Then again, maybe the tree model does not mach the history of mushroom evolution very well. Maybe psilocin production and the bluing reaction that accompanies it spread from one species to another through horizontal gene transfer, the way penicillin resistance spreads from one kind of bacteria to another.

Active woodlovers
By: Erlon (Herbert Baker)
2009-06-08 08:50:57 PDT (-0700)

Oh, i thought i saw some bruising, i guess not.
Psilocybe semilanceata usually doesn’t bruise at all, all active Psilocybe woodlovers bruise blue to some degree, as far as i know.

Re: clades
By: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)
2009-06-07 11:02:44 PDT (-0700)

That I can think of off the top of my head..? Yes. However, subtly in some species, and not consistently with every fruiting body. Even P. stuntzii turns blue.

Of course, the inactive clade closely resembles the active one on a macro level, owing to the generas polyphyly for so long.

By: Dan Molter (shroomydan)
2009-06-07 05:53:04 PDT (-0700)

They sure do look closely related to bluing wood-lovers, just no bluing. Do all mushrooms in the bluing clade bruise blue?

By: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)
2009-06-07 01:07:57 PDT (-0700)

Non-bluing clade I take it?

whatever species it is
By: Gerhard Koller (Gerhard)
2009-06-03 14:12:23 PDT (-0700)

the shots are great, especially the first one!

By: Michael W (Michael Wallace)
2009-06-03 08:48:31 PDT (-0700)

I used that book as my reference, it does seem very similar!

By: Michael W (Michael Wallace)
2009-06-03 08:21:11 PDT (-0700)

not staining blue, how about Psilocybe physaloides.

By: Dan Molter (shroomydan)
2009-06-03 08:02:39 PDT (-0700)

Could be, but I do not see the bluing evident in other observations of P. caerulipes.

Nice find Dan,
By: Michael W (Michael Wallace)
2009-06-03 07:10:34 PDT (-0700)

I wonder if this could be P. caerulipes?

Created: 2009-06-03 06:57:15 PDT (-0700)
Last modified: 2017-06-19 07:57:28 PDT (-0700)
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