If you've ever been curious about identifying magic mushrooms in the wild, you've probably heard of psilocybe cubensis, but are you familiar with its sibling, psilocybe ovoideocystidiata?
Named by mycologists Richard Gaines and Gaston Guzman in 2007, this strain of “little brown mushrooms” are called ovoid mushrooms, or simply ovoids, for short, and while they share many of the same characteristics of cubensis and other psychedelic mushrooms, there are a few things about them that stand out.
If you're curious about psychedelic ovoid mushrooms and growing magic mushrooms, read on.
What are psilocybe ovoideocystidiata?
Psilocybe ovoideocystidiata is psilocybe mushroom, of which there are over 180 species around the world. Psilocybe mushrooms are incredible - from the beautiful experiences they create to the mystical compounds that they naturally produce.
Like it's more well known cubensis cousin, they can cause hallucinations, altered perception of time, and changes in mood and emotions. Some people who have taken it say they've had "out of body" experiences or felt like they were in a dream.
The active compounds in psilocybe ovoideocystidiata are psilocin and psilocybin, which interact with serotonin receptors in the brain to produce these psychological and physiological effects. Psilocybin is broken down into psilocin in the body, and it is this compound that binds to serotonin receptors in the brain, causing changes in perception, mood, and cognition.
In addition to its psychoactive properties, this mushroom is also known to have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
How can you identify psilocybe ovoideocystidiata?
There are probably a lot of questions on your mind, but the main one is probably, what do magic mushrooms look like? These mushrooms are considered part of the “little brown mushroom” family, which can make them hard to distinguish from others in their family. Ovoids are dome-shaped with a bump in the middle called the subumbonate, and can grow up to 1.75 inches in diameter.
A key component of identifying these mushrooms is the fact that they change color as they mature, and also as they dry out. When fresh, their caps may range anywhere from orange-brown when they’re young, to blueish-green when they're older, with off-white stems that sometimes have patches of yellow, brown or blue and can grow up to 3.5 inches tall.
When they dry out, their color changes to a pale yellow, meaning they are hygrophanous–their color changes based on their water content.
The most important factor in identifying psychedelic mushrooms is blue bruising and purple-black spores. Spores will often appear whitish-brown when they're young, and turn purpleish-black by the time they are mature and ready for harvesting. It's also important to note that ovoids smell like flour and often possess a touch of spice, which differs from their look-alikes that will be addressed later.
The gills underneath the cap meet the stem at right angles, and are usually colored anywhere from off-white to rusty brown. Like most psychedelic mushrooms, these little shrooms will bruise blue upon impact. If you press on a mushroom and see blue (along with the other characteristics outlined here), you’ve likely stumbled upon psilocybe ovoideocystidiata! Be sure to compare these specimens against their similar-looking counterparts in order to minimize the risk of harvesting a poisonous mushroom instead of a psychedelic one.
Where can you find psilocybe ovoideocystidiata?
These mushrooms can be found on both the East and West sides of the United States, as well as growing wild in Europe in places like Switzerland and Germany. They are particularly fond of wood chip piles, and are commonly found on hardwood, mulch and other woody debris.
While they're not usually found in man-made mulch, they do tend to grow close to rivers and streams in sandy loams. This is because they flourish in temperate climates and are highly tolerant to cold weather.
In the United States, ovoids can be found in the Ohio River Valley and along the east coast, as far inland as Missourito, and as far south as Georgia. While they are rare in the west, due to the deliberate introduction of the species to the west coast by mycologists, they can be found on the coast all the way from San Diego to Seattle.
This mushroom often grows in groups of a hundred or more, and tend to be found among urban landscapes on the west coast due to the deliberate introduction of the species to the Western United States.
When is psilocybe ovoideocystidiata season?
The season for harvesting psilocybe ovoideocystidiata is late April to early June in the northeastern US, But sometimes goes as late as November. The peak of the harvesting season is usually late May, but peak season varies by region.
Having such an expansive harvesting season may seem shocking, but it's caused by the fact that these mushrooms don't need cold temperatures to produce, so you can find them abundantly in spring and summer.
What are some psilocybe ovoideocystidiata look-alikes?
Ovoids can easily be mistaken for psilocybe caerulipes, which are both commonly called “blue-foot mushrooms.” However, caerulipes have different spores than ovoids; the spores on ovoideocystidiata are rhomboid (kite-shaped), and often larger in size with the presence of a ring on the stem where the gill-covering veil breaks off.
This ring is found on ovoids about halfway up the stem, whereas other strains feature the ring closer to the top of the stem. Another way to tell the difference between these two strains is that ovoids have a bit of a spicy smell, unlike caerulipes. Ovoids also have an earlier fruiting season than their look-alikes.
How strong are Psilocybe ovoideocystidiata?
Anecdotally, Psilocybe ovoideocystidiata is one of the strongest varieties of magic mushrooms. However, it's hard to verify that - very few scientific studies of potency exist for Psilocybe ovoideocystidiata.
A chemical analysis of this species performed by John Allen and colleagues in 2009 found the following alkaloid contents were in a similar range to Psilocybe cubensis, meaning the potency should be similar.
In reality, the alkaloid analysis may only be a snapshot of the true variation in potency with this species. It's still unclear what kind of an entourage effect shrooms have with the various other chemical compeonets that make them up.
What are the effects of psilocybe ovoideocystidiata ?
The effects are not radially different to other species and strains.
Psilocybin produces mind-altering effects. Depending on the dose, these can manifest in different ways. Hallucinations – both auditory and visual. A feeling of euphoria. Out of body experiences and spiritual-like sensations.
How long does a psilocybe ovoideocystidiata trip last?
The effects usually last between four and six hours, although some people say they can last up to 12 hours.
Psilocybe ovoideocystidiata experiences
"My effects were very slight, and I was never sure whether or not they actually kicked-in. I felt like I noticed small details of things more than I normally. I saw a small insect and watched it for about 5 minutes, examining it carefully. My mind almost felt foggy. No changes in colors or visuals. My mind stayed about normal. I was slightly more chatty and was quicker to laugh at things. I had a nice belly laugh at a political sign in someone's yard I thought was funny."
"I've had several experiences with ovoids. One thing that I've consistently found about them is that they produce significantly more nausea when eaten raw than other active mushrooms. Because of this my standard technique is a twice boiled tea, and sometimes a pre soak in lemon juice. Most recently I used 4g of cracker dry ovoids in a tea. The usual comeup feelings of tightness in the face and stomach butterflies persisted for 20ish minutes. Around 40 minutes I got hit with a wave of intense warm energy that left me curled up on the couch just bathing in the glow. All of my experiences with ovoids have always had a very heavy body load, although not an unpleasant one, and this time was no exception. With some tunes bumping I sat upright on the couch, closed my eyes and let my mind ride the waves of energy that kept lapping over my psyche. Accompanied by the internal feelings of this energy every couple of minutes I would get a static burst in my ears that would re energize me. After a bit of just basking, I stood up only to find my legs were almost entirely jello. I slowly walked around the house to get feeling normal while moving again. At around an hour and a half I went for a walk outside in the evening light and noticed a "3d glasses" halo effect around trees and grasses. This surprised me because in my experience ovoids dont stimulate very much visual change. I spent the rest of the trip sitting on the patio watching clouds, and then watching a couple episodes of blue planet 2. All around probably a level 3- trip. I should have gotten more rest the day before because I was so sluggish and tired for the last hour and a half I really just wanted to lay down and go to sleep"
Psilocybe ovoideocystidiata dosage
There are no scientific studies of Psilocybe ovoideocystidiata regarding a dosage.
Given the similarities to Cubensis, it's reasonable to assume the dosages are in the same range. If you're planning a trip and want some guidance on what an approx. dose is, check out our shroom dosage calculator and this handy guide.
How do you grow psilocybe ovoideocystidiata?
If you're looking to grow psilocybe ovoideocystidiata, there are a few important things worth noting. Firstly, it remains illegal in many places, so as always, proceed with caution.
Secondly, these mushrooms are easier to grow than most, because they don't need cold weather to produce and therefore can be grown inside. You can start your cultures on grain, potting soil, or river sand, but the important thing is that you include lots of wood chips and or sawdust from hardwoods like alder and birch.
Choosing a hardwood is important because softwoods have sap contents that can slow or prevent growth. Whether you want to grow your mushrooms indoors in a terrarium, jar or tub, or outside in shaded tubs or beds, they are more temperature and contamination resistant than psilocybe cubensis, and should grow like mad under the right conditions.
If you’re thinking about trying this mushroom, legality aside, we highly encourage you to do your research.
If you have any other questions about growing, harvesting, foraging, or consuming psilocybe ovoideocystidiata and its psychedelic siblings, there's an extensive selection of articles on our magazine, and you can subscribe to our newsletter for regular exclusive content.