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Psilocybe semilanceata
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Psilocybe semilanceata, the liberty cap, is a psychedelic mushroom that
contains the psychoactive compound psilocybin. It grows on grassy
meadows and similar; particularly in wet, south-facing fields and other
habitats well fertilized by sheep and other cattle feces, although unlike
Psilocybe cubensis it does not grow directly on the dung itself. It is found throughout the cool temperate and subarctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and it is most common in "Europe, Russia, India,
Peru and the Pacific Northwest United States and Northeastern North America."
Etymology
The mushroom takes its name from an actual cap, the Phrygian cap, also known as the liberty cap, which it resembles. The Latin word for Phrygian cap is pileus, nowadays the technical name for what is
commonly known as the "cap" of a fungal fruiting body. In the 18th century AD Phrygian caps were stuck on Liberty poles, which resemble
the stem of the mushroom. The binomial name can be broken down into the Greek "psilo" (bald) and "cybe" (head), and the Latin "semi" (half)
and "lanceata" (lanced or pierced).
Identification
Liberty caps have a distinctive conical head with a small point or nipple
on the tip. They are yellow to brown in colour and the caps are slimy when moist. Their stems tend to be long, slightly wavy and the same
colour or slightly lighter than the cap. The gills are darker than the outer
cap. There are several species of lookalikes; domed heads and translucent stalks are some of the main giveaways when identifying
impostors. As with all fungus, if in doubt do not consume before
ascertaining the exact species. Anecdotal evidence suggests that
accidental consumption of lookalike mushrooms in reasonable doses is
unlikely to lead to anything worse than an upset stomach, but it is still
an unnecessary risk.
Contemporary use in the UK
In Britain, a 'loophole' in UK law allowed the selling and possession of fresh, unprepared psychoactive mushrooms. After much indecision (or unwillingness to legislate) governmental forces closed the loop hole. As from July 18, 2005 all retail transactions involving psychoactive mushrooms became illegal (with the exception of fly agaric), and possession of practically all psychoactive mushrooms was made illegal under the Drugs Act of 2005. Any transgression is treatable as a criminal
offense involving a Class A substance.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, the comprehensive curtailing of 'shroom culture' so suddenly has resulted in a tremendous increase in the use of the liberty cap by people who can no longer obtain their substance of
choice by retail.

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