The Psilcybe Azurescens species was first discovered in 1979 by a group of Boy Scouts in Oregon, near the mouth of the Columbia river. They soon realized its potently psychoactive properties and began isolating and cultivating them. It was officially classified in 1996 by renowned mycologist and psilocybe expert Paul Stamets in his publication "Psilocybin Mushrooms of the world". The name Azurescens is derived from the blue, or "azure", bruising often present on the stipe (stem/stalk) of the mushroom. Coincidentally it it also the name of Stamets' son. On average it is the most potent tryptamine synthesizing Psilocybe mushroom, containing up to 1.8% psilocybin, 0.5% psilocin, and 0.4% baeocystin by weight. The concentration of these psychoactive biochemicals in P. Azurescens is up to 3x that of P. Cubensis and P. Cyanescens. They produce intense visual hallucination, profound journeys into alternate realms of consciousness, and more rarely induce temporary paralysis. It is a very sporadic and uncommonly found psilocybe mushroom, unlike the plentiful semilanceata. It fruits naturally in only the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. but grows vigorously within this habitat.
Psilocybe Azurescens, like all mushrooms of the Psilocybe genus, have a hygrophanous nature, which means that their coloration shifts depending on hydration levels. They turn an azure-bluish colour when handled or bruised, due to the oxidization of psilocin. The underside of the pileus is densely gilled, and they possess a thin gelatinous veil (pellicle) separating the pileus and stipe.
Pileus (caps) are generally 30–100 mm in diameter, conic to convex, expanding to broadly convex and eventually flattening with age with a persistent broad Umbo (bump) in the centre. Caps sometimes invert and erode at the margins when fully mature. Coloration is chestnut brown to caramel in color when fresh, gradually lightening from the darkest point at the centre, and hygrophanously fading to a lighter strawish color when dry.
Lamella (gills) are two-tiered, densely packed, and often stain indigo black where injured or bruised. Coloration is light yellowish-brown often mottled with white near the edges. Lamella are visible as lines or striations on the outer part of the cap when fresh.
Stipe (stem/stalk) can range from 90-200mm long by 3-6mm thick, often slightly curved and thickening downwards towards the base. Coloration is silky white but will readily bruise blue-indigo due to the high indole concentration. Near the base discolouration is common along with fluffy white tufts of mycelium that tenaciously holds the mushroom into its growing substrate.
Spores are a dark purplish brown to purplish black when deposited, shaped in an ellipsoid pattern measuring between 12-13.5 x 6.5-8 micrometers.
Psilocybe Azurescens has an extremely bitter taste and a slightly farinaceous (similar to flour) odour
P. Azurescens can be found fruiting on deciduous wood chips or in sandy coastal soils rich in ligneous material. It strongly favours dune grasses along the coastal areas of Washington and Oregon, and therefore grows an extensive, dense and tenacious mycelial mat to hold itself into sandy soil. Comparative to other psilocybe species it is well-disposed to handle colder temperatures, sometimes fruiting into late December and early January. It has been regularly found as far south as Depoe Bay, Oregon, and as far north as Grays Harbor County, Washington. Its primary locations are clustered around the Columbia River Delta, with its initial collection made in Hammond, Oregon. While in nature it is limited to the Pacific Northwest, colonies of P. Azurescens have been artificially established in New Mexico, Wisconsin, Vermont, Ohio, and Stuttgart Germany.