Psilocybe weraroa
Weraroa novae zelandiae.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Hymenogastraceae
Genus: Psilocybe
P. weraroa
Binomial name
Psilocybe weraroa
Borovička, Oborník & Noordel. (2011)

Secotium novae-zelandiae G.Cunn. (1924)
Weraroa novae-zelandiae (G.Cunn.) Singer (1958)

Psilocybe weraroa
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
gills on hymenium
cap is conical or ovate
hymenium attachment is irregular or not applicable
stipe is bare or lacks a stipe
spore print is purple-brown
ecology is saprotrophic
edibility: psychoactive

Psilocybe weraroa (formerly Weraroa novae-zelandiae) is a secotioid fungus in the family Hymenogastraceae.[2] It is endemic to New Zealand.[3] This species is closely related to Psilocybe cyanescens and is in the Cyanescens phylogenetic clade.[4] As a bluing member of the genus Psilocybe it contains the psychoactive compounds psilocin and psilocybin.[5]

Taxonomy and naming

The species was first described in the literature in 1924 by the New Zealand-based mycologist Gordon Heriot Cunningham, under the name Secotium novae-zelandiae.[6] Rolf Singer transferred it to Weraroa in 1958.[7] Phylogenetic analysis by Moncalvo (2002)[8] and Bridge et al. (2008)[5] has demonstrated the close relationship between Weraroa novae-zelandiae and the hallucinogenic blue-staining group of Psilocybe, particularly Psilocybe subaeruginosa. Phylogenetic analysis published by Borovička and colleagues (2011) showed this species is very close to Psilocybe cyanescens. Given this and the apparently distant relation with other species of Weraroa Borovička et al. (2011) suggested renaming the species Psilocybe weraroa.[4]

P. allenii

P. cyanescens

P. subaeruginosa

P. weraroa

P. cubensis

P. serbica

P. medullosa

P. zapotecorum

P. aucklandiae

P. alutacea

P. angulospora

P. semilanceata

P. fuscofulva

Cladogram depicting the phylogeny of P. weraroa and related species of Psilocybe. [4]


The specific epithet weraroa is taken from the former generic name, which refers to the type locality. The binomial Psilocybe novae-zelandiae could not be used, as it had already been used in 1978 by Gastón Guzmán and Egon Horak for another Psilocybe species (now Deconica novae-zelandiae).[9][10]


A cross-section of the gastrocarp.
A cross-section of the gastrocarp.

Cap: (1)3–5 cm tall, 1.5– 3 cm wide, irregularly roundish to ovate, elliptical or even depressed-globose, margin folded, light brown when young becoming pale blue-grey, often showing blue or blue-green stains with age, at first finely fibrillose becoming smooth, glabrous, slightly viscid, bruising blue when injured, slowly. Drying dingy brown. Gleba: Chocolate or sepia-brown, sparse, chambered, contorted gill-like structures. Stipe: Up to 40 mm tall, 6 mm thick, equal, cartilaginous, whitish to blue-grey, yellowish-brown at the base, hollow, bruising blue when injured.

Spores: 11–15(17) x 5–8 µm in size, smooth, sepia-coloured, elliptic-ovate or elliptical in shape, rounded at one end with a thin epispore.

Spore colour purple-brown; Odor and taste farinaceous.

Habitat and distribution

Solitary to crowded on decaying wood buried in forest leaf litter, often on the rotting branches of Melicytus ramiflorus. It has also been found fruiting on rotted cabbage trees and associated with decaying tree-fern fronds, native to the forests of New Zealand.

Fairly abundant in the early winter and spring months in lowland mixed rainforest near Wellington and Auckland. The mushroom can be difficult to see, often buried under leaves or eaten by slugs, and it is sometimes hard to find mature specimens that are not partially eaten.[11] The species is endemic to New Zealand.[3]

Similar species

Clavogaster virescens, a close lookalike often mistaken for P. weraroa by foragers.
Clavogaster virescens, a close lookalike often mistaken for P. weraroa by foragers.

Clavogaster virescens is similar in appearance and habitat, but the gleba form a reddish brown chambered mass enclosed inside a sack-like structure within the perideum. The stem is stout, smooth and slightly slippery rather than fibrous, off-white to yellow, enlarged at the top where it often smoothly transitions into the pouch, and tapering towards a yellower base. The fungus does not have a bluing reaction; it is naturally blue to greenish blue, and has no psychoactive properties.[11]


  1. ^ "Psilocybe weraroa Borovička, Oborník & Noordel. 2011". MycoBank. International Mycological Association. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  2. ^ "Index Fungorum - Names Record". Index Fungorum. 2011. Archived from the original on 1 October 2021. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Psilocybe weraroa Borovička, Oborník & Noordel". NZOR. Archived from the original on 1 October 2021. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Borovička J, Noordeloos ME, Gryndler M, Oborník M (2011). "Molecular phylogeny of Psilocybe cyanescens complex in Europe, with reference to the position of the secotioid Weraoa novae-zelandiae" (PDF). Mycological Progress. 10 (2): 149–55. doi:10.1007/s11557-010-0684-3. S2CID 36050854. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  5. ^ a b Bridge PD, Spooner BM, Beever RE, Park D-C (2008). "Taxonomy of the fungus commonly known as Stropharia aurantiacea, with new combinations inLeratiomyces". Mycotaxon. 103: 109–21. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2013-03-02.
  6. ^ Cunningham GH (1924). "A critical revision of the Australian and New Zealand species of the genus Secotium". Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales. 49 (2): 97–119.
  7. ^ Singer R. (1958). "New genera of fungi, IX. The probable ancestor of the Strophariaceae: Weraroa gen. nov". Lloydia. 21: 45–7.
  8. ^ Moncalvo JM, Vilgalys R, Redhead SA, Johnson JE, James TY, Catherine Aime M, Hofstetter V, Verduin SJ, Larsson E, Baroni TJ, Greg Thorn R, Jacobsson S, Clémençon H, Miller OK (2002). "One hundred and seventeen clades of euagarics". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 23 (3): 357–400. doi:10.1016/S1055-7903(02)00027-1. PMID 12099793.
  9. ^ Guzmán G, Horak E (1978). "New species of Psilocybe from Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and New Zealand" (PDF). Sydowia. 31 (1–6): 44–54. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
  10. ^ Redhead SA, Moncalvo J-M, Vilgalys R, Matheny PB, Guzmán-Dávalos L, Guzmán G (2007). "(1757) Proposal to conserve the name Psilocybe (Basidiomycota) with a conserved type" (PDF). Taxon. 56 (1): 255–7. JSTOR 25065762. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  11. ^ a b Cunningham, G.H. (1924). "A critical revision of the Australian and New Zealand species of the genus Secotium". Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales. 49 (2): 97–119.