Panaeolus cinctulus is a hallucinogenic mushroom and identifying it can be difficult unless you know what to look for. Found in a variety climates, the mushroom varies in cap color, shape and size. This makes identifying it a bit tricky. It is the widest distributed hallucinogenic mushroom and is found in Asia, South America, North America and Europe, as well as being the third most common hallucinogenic mushroom grown in Amsterdam.
This mushroom was originally named Panaeolus subbalteatus, but was recently renamed Panaeolus cinctulus. Over the years it has been given a variety of nicknames, including "Subbs” and “Red caps.” But the most common nickname, "Weed Panaeolus," was tagged in the early 1900s because it was commonly found growing unexpectedly at mushroom farms that cultivated edible mushrooms for grocery stores and had to be weeded out.
Different species of black spored mushrooms will commonly grow in the same environmental conditions. So if you find one species of mushrooms, you are likely to find Panaeolus cinctulus. Where you will find it the most is among animal dung and well fertilized areas, such as compost piles, gardens, haystacks, racetracks and riding stables, and newly laid lawns. Keep in mind that the “look-alike” companion species vary, so you won’t see the same mushrooms on your lawn as you may find in your compost pile or stables.
The gills, cap and stem are what identify the Panaeolus cinctulus mushroom. The cap of this mushroom can vary from 1/4 to 4 inches. The color and shape also varies greatly. The bands on the cap, known as zonates, usually range from two to three, but disappear if the caps have been in the sun after being picked. The shape of older mushroom caps can also appear deformed and cracked under hot or dry conditions.
The mushroom’s gills are grayish-brown on the gill fringes and can become black, but these gills almost never appear below the lowest part of the cap. The older the mushroom, the darker the gills will appear.
The easiest way to identify Panaeolus cinctulus is its stems. The up and down lines on the stems are not straight, but twist more like a barber pole and the stem is very thick and long – up to 4 inches long and a half-inch thick.
Stem color range from an off white in young mushrooms, to tan, dark red, and even brown. If you see bluish color at the base of the stem, then you have an active Panaeolus cinctulus mushroom.