The Complete Guide to "Subs," Psilocybe Subaeruginosa Mushrooms

The Complete Guide to "Subs," Psilocybe Subaeruginosa Mushrooms

Julian Selemin
Julian Selemin
March 08, 2023
8 min

Psilocybe subaeruginosa is one of the most potent psychedelic mushrooms found in Australia and New Zealand. While its high psilocybin content makes it a top choice among psychedelic enthusiasts, harvesting it from the wild is not as safe as it seems. Here’s what you need to know about this shroom’s natural habitat, historic use, health benefits, and possible side effects.

What is Psilocybe Subaeruginosa?

Psylocibe subaeruginosa, also known as P. subaeruginosa and “subs,” is a species of psychedelic mushroom native to Australia and parts of New Zealand. Usually fruiting during autumn, it’s known for its distinctive appearance—most notably, its caramel brown cap covered in a slight golden hue.

P. subaeruginosa contains psilocybin, a famous psychedelic responsible for giving shrooms their hallucinogenic effects. Experts often agree that P. subaeruginosa is one of the most potent species, as it can contain up to 1.93% psilocybin once dried. Plus, several other psychedelic-promoting alkaloids are present in this species, such as baeocystin, nor-psilocybin, and MAOIs (1).

For comparison, Psilocybe cubensis (the most popular magic mushroom species) only contains about 1.30% psilocybin when dried (2).

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How does P. Subaeruginosa look?

P. Subaeruginosa, like any other mushroom, is incredibly complex. Mushroom anatomy varies greatly from one specimen to the other—but there are some features that make subs easy to tell it apart from most other fungi.

The most recognizable aspect of P. subaeruginosa is its convex cap, which is between one to six centimeters (0.39 to 2.36 inches) in diameter. Its brown shade is usually dark, often turning to a light caramel when it starts to get dry. The edges of the cap often start pointing upward later in the mushroom’s life.

The stem (stipe) is rather long, often growing to be up to 10 centimeters (3.9 inches), and slender—although it can get swollen at the base. Many specimens of P. subaeruginosa have blue and green specks on the stem, which become brown as the mushroom ages.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that P. subaeruginosa is highly variable in appearance, as colors and dimensions differ greatly between mushrooms. A good tip to remember is that, upon bruising, the different parts of P. subaeruginosa will turn blue—the same color as its spore print (1). 

As with the majority of other psychedelic mushrooms, Psylocibe subaeruginosa is illegal in most countries. We recommend consulting your local laws to check your country’s stance on psilocybin, spores, and mushroom picking.

For example, in the US, psilocybin mushrooms are illegal on a federal level. Yet, some states have decided to decriminalize the possession of psilocybin for personal consumption. Similarly, some individual cities and jurisdictions have also taken this step forward.

What are the varities of Psilocybe Subaeruginosa?

P. subaeruginosa encompasses three types of Australian fungi that are considered “synonymy”—fungi previously considered individual species that are now grouped under one name. The former species in question are P. eucalypta, P. australiana, and the “authentic” P. subaeruginosa (3).

Another species, P. tasmaniana (named after the island of Tasmania), was previously considered synonymy, but a 1995 study reinstated its status as an individual species. All four of these mushrooms contain psilocybin and psilocin, meaning they are psychoactive (4).

There’s also an ongoing debate regarding the relationship between P. subaeruginosa and P. cyanescens—another species of psychedelic mushroom native to Australia. While there’s no definite consensus among scientists, some believe they could be considered synonymy. Still, experts say that they’re sufficiently different in appearance to tell them apart with the naked eye (4). 

The history of P. Subaeruginosa

Scientist researching dried psilocybe subaeruginosa "subs" mushrooms

Psilocybe subaeruginosa was discovered and first described in 1927 by John Cleland, a renowned Australian mycologist. He named it after the mushroom’s famous blue reaction upon bruising—“aeruginosa” means copper rust in Latin.

Surprisingly, no history of traditional use has been found correlating to Indigenous Australians. This is uncommon when dealing with shrooms, as many ancient cultures around the world, like the Mayans, consumed psilocybin for rituals and medicine (5).

The first recorded use of psychedelic shrooms in Australia dates back to the late 1960s, when some newspapers described how surfers and hippies foraged them for psychedelic purposes. Yet, it wasn’t until 1970 that researchers were able to confirm that P. suberuginosa did, in fact, contain psilocybin (1).

During the 1990s, some taxonomy studies came out stating the synonymy we mentioned above. Since then, however, not much has changed for this species, but some researchers are calling for a modern review of P. subaeruginosa.

The health benefits of Psilocybe Subaeruginosa

P. subaeruginosa, like all other magic mushroom species, is undergoing heavy research to determine the possible benefits of its psychedelic properties. This forms part of a new framework in psychology and psychiatry called “psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy” (PAP).

This idea came to be after the discovery of LSD in 1943, when hundreds, if not thousands, of researchers conducted several studies on the beneficial properties of psychedelics. They discovered that hallucinogenic drugs could help get past the mental barriers of patients with conditions such as alcoholism.

However, during the 1960s, these compounds, including LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline, were banned in almost every country worldwide. This drove research to a sudden stop—and it mostly stayed like that until recently.

Since 2010, researchers and governments have been more open to the idea of studying psychedelics. Experts have completed rigorous double-blind studies that show promising results, indicating that psilocybin and other psychedelics can help with (6) (7):

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Addictions (especially alcohol and nicotine) 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

While research is still in its early stages, all of these studies suggest that magic mushrooms, such as P. subaeruginosa, can have significant beneficial properties in psychology. However, it’s important to remember that one should not attempt to use psychedelics as a form of self-therapy without the supervision of a professional.

The potential side effects of P. Subaeruginosa

While psilocybin is considered to be safe for most people, there are a few side effects that can appear after ingestion. These include anxiety, paranoia, increased heart rate, nausea, and excessive sweating. Most of these will go away a few hours after taking the mushrooms (8).

That said, with P. subaeruginosa, it’s important to be aware of a particular phenomenon called “wood lover paralysis.” After consuming fungi that grow on wood, like subs, you may experience a sudden loss of muscle strength and motor control. This paralysis can last up to 24 hours and occurs even at low doses of P. subaeruginosa (1).

Where does Psilocybe Subaeruginosa grow?

P. Subaeruginosa has been reported all over Australia and New Zealand, with a particular emphasis on South Australia. It usually grows from March to August, being mostly present during autumn. Its preferred growing grounds are (3):

  • Animal dung
  • Leafy litter
  • Rich soil near grass and mosses
  • Woody debris (such as fallen trees and wood chips)

As such, it’s common to find these shrooms at the edge of forests or in farmlands—especially in shaded areas. Like many species of psychedelic mushrooms, P. subaeruginosa usually appears after heavy rains and drops in temperature (1).

What is ethical wildcrafting?

Wildcrafting refers to the practice of harvesting local plants or mushrooms for medicinal needs. It’s often used as a synonym for foraging—the key difference lies in that foraging describes harvesting for food and not for medicine.

However, wildcrafting should only be done by keeping in mind possible damage to the environment. Harvesting resources can significantly impact the environment, but a few key tips can help you mitigate this. Mainly, ecology experts recommend:

  • Being mindful of what and how much you’re about to take from the land
  • Performing some research before going wildcrafting
  • Carrying a relevant field guide to tell poisonous look-alikes apart
  • Noting any at-risk mycological species in your local area (P. subaeruginosa is not endangered, but some look-alikes may be at risk)
  • Picking the mushrooms gently as not to damage the mycelium
  • Double-checking if the area you’re scouting is available for wildcrafting (if the land is of public domain)
  • Getting permission from the owner before entering the property (if the land is of private domain)

Another key thing to keep in mind when wildcrafting P. subaeruginosa is its legal status in your country or state. Make sure to check your local psilocybin and psilocin-related laws before heading out to the field.

Is it safe to wildcraft for P. Subaeruginosa?

Most experts and wildcrafting veterans agree that wildcrafting for psychedelic mushrooms is not a safe practice. This is especially true with P. subaeruginosa, as there are many poisonous look-alikes. These include, but are not limited to (1):

  • Hypholama fasciculare—has the same brown cap as P. subaeruginosa, sometimes with a green touch around the edges
  • Galerina spp.—a potentially deadly mushroom that also has a similar brown cap
  • Cortinarius sp.—this mushroom can have a blueish hue that resembles that caused by bruises on subs
  • Leratiomyces ceres—this species has an orange-red cap that can be confused with that of P. subaeruginosa

Wildcrafting for P. subaeruginosa should only be performed under the close supervision of a professional. If you’ve ingested a mushroom resembling P. subaeruginosa and aren’t feeling too well, make sure to call your local health services as soon as possible.

How do you take Psilocybe Subaeruginosa

Psylocibe subaeruginosa subs: Flat lay of dried psychedelic mushrooms

There isn’t a specific way to take P. subaeruginosa—rather, the consumption methods are the same as with any other psilocybe species. These include three primary options: powdered, dried, and fresh.

Dried is probably the most common way to take shrooms, as it provides a precise and potent dose that’s reduced in size. Dried mushrooms lose about 90% of their mass, thus enhancing the actual psilocybin dose by almost 10x. Most people eat dried shrooms as they are—although be warned that the taste isn’t as pleasant as some delicious shiitakes.

Some other people prefer not to dry them and instead choose to take them fresh. This provides lower doses of psilocybin, as the mushroom will contain a lot of water. Taking fresh P. subaeruginosa may be ideal if you’re looking to microdose.

Finally, powdering the mushrooms is also possible, which enables you to put subs into food or brew them into tea. While this method may require more effort, it’s also your best bet if you’re trying to avoid the earthy taste of shrooms (9).

P. Subaeruginosa: A potent but potentially dangerous choice

Psylocibe subaeruginosa is one of the most potent types of psychedelic mushrooms. Native to Australia, this shroom is usually found in animal dung or decaying wood, often near forests and farmlands. While its highly sought after by psychedelic enthusiasts, you should never try to wildcraft subs for personal consumption as there are many poisonous look-alikes that may lead to death.

If you want to find out about other types of mushrooms, make sure to keep up with us here on shroomer. You’ll find all the details you need about functional fungi from all over the world, along with the latest news on the legal status of psychedelic mushrooms.


  1. Entheogenesis Australis. “Reference guide for Psylocibe subaeruginosa,” n. d. https://gardenstates.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/EGA-2021-Factsheet1_PSubaeruginosa-_v3.pdf.
  2. Tsujikawa, Kenji, Tatsuyuki Kanamori, Yuko Iwata, Yoshihito Ohmae, Ritsuko Sugita, Hiroyuki Inoue, and Tohru Kishi. “Morphological and Chemical Analysis of Magic Mushrooms in Japan.” Forensic Science International 138, no. 1-3 (October 21, 2003): 85–90. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2003.08.009 
  3. Chang, Yu S., and Alan K. Mills. “Re-examination of Psilocybe subaeruginosa and related species with comparative morphology, isozymes and mating compatibility studies.” Mycological Research 96, no. 6 (1992): 429-441. Accessed February 21, 2023. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0953-7562(09)81087-3
  4. Johnston, Peter(iR.}, and Peter K. Buchanan. “The Genus Psilocybe (Agaricales) in New Zealand.” New Zealand Journal of Botany 33, no. 3 (December 9, 1995): 379–88. https://doi.org/10.1080/0028825x.1995.10412964 
  5. Nichols, David E. “Psilocybin: from ancient magic to modern medicine.” The Journal of Antibiotics (2020): 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41429-020-0311-8
  6. Schenberg, Eduardo E. “Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy: A Paradigm Shift in Psychiatric Research and Development.” Frontiers in Pharmacology 9, (2018). Accessed February 21, 2023. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2018.00733
  7. Tupper, Kenneth W., Wood, Evan, Yensen, Richard, and Matthew W. Johnson. “Psychedelic medicine: a re-emerging therapeutic paradigm.” CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association Journal 187, no. 14 (2015): 1054-1059. Accessed February 21, 2023. https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.141124
  8. “Psilocybin and psilocin (Magic mushrooms).” 2023. Canada.ca. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/substance-use/controlled-illegal-drugs/magic-mushrooms.html#a2
  9. “Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms) - Everything You Need to Know.” n.d. Drug Science. Accessed February 21, 2023. https://www.drugscience.org.uk/drug-information/psilocybin/

Fact Checked: Mar Yvette


Julian Selemin

Julian Selemin

Content Writer

Table Of Contents

What is Psilocybe Subaeruginosa?
What are the varities of Psilocybe Subaeruginosa?
The history of P. Subaeruginosa
The health benefits of Psilocybe Subaeruginosa
The potential side effects of P. Subaeruginosa
Where does Psilocybe Subaeruginosa grow?
How do you take Psilocybe Subaeruginosa
P. Subaeruginosa: A potent but potentially dangerous choice

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