Revised May 1, 2002; August 29, 2007; January 2, 2011; May 2, 2013; and April 23, 2017.
Copyright 1999-2017 by John W. Allen.



Photo: J. W. Allen, Kualoa Ranch, Oahu, Hawaii.

Kualoa Ranch is located on the East Coast of Maui at Chinaman's Hat on Oahu Island halfway to North Shore's University of Hawaii's 'Livestock and Experimental Farm' situated along both sides of Kamahameha Highway, Across from the Crawford Nursing Home in and around the old Oahu North Shore roofless Jail. One year, an open toilet room with 6 toilets, all with no seats on them was proudly stood a single dung heap that had been dropped on the side of one of the porcelain seat old toilet bowls with nasty rainwater in them and fallen leaves from overhead trees. The roof had mostly long been blown off in sections. On that dung heap were some fresh fruiting bodies of Copelandia fruiting from that very dung heap on the edge of the toilet seat.

All around outside of the old dilapidated jail house was pastures and old rusty farm equipment, including rows of water pipes for sprinkling the fields for the dairy cattle to have fresh grass during the hot season. Part of the pasture led to an area that I got stuck in close to four-feet deep slimy and gooey black oily slick swampy mud. I could hardly walk out. So I crossed through it into another connected fenced in field. At the time, I had permission to collect specimens at most major farms in Hawaii. It was at this very jailhouse where I first found Copelandia bispora. That is the first report of that species from Hawaii.

For 11-years I collected over 200 or more individual herbarium collections of which only three cow pies had a total of very small specimens of Copelandia tropicalis on them and that was also at the 'Livestock and Experimental Farm' a few blocks south of Sunset Beach. And these pastures are all visible from the Highway. The beach area of Sunset and Kamahameha is where the annual billabong surf events are held and up the mountain on Comsat Road near Sunset Beach Road and beach is large pastureland which has an open aired girl scout camp and giant windmill radar fans twirling in the air. And Kualoa has had many new homes build near the road area of Kualoa Ranch owned by John Morgan. Their is a rooster farm near the beginning of Kualoa Ranch about one mile before Chinaman's Hat. Hawaiian shroomers generally sneak up through a hole in the fence across from the red and blue colored barrels used to keep roosters for Cock-Fights out of the sun. The entrance into the farm where no one could be seen is a drainage water pathway to the street. One must slowly work their way to the pastures and behind them hidden in the back of the pastures are mountain trails for cattle trails. all pastures at different times of the season or year, depending on rain, produce shrooms.


Mark D. Merlin and John W. Allen

Several fungi species collected in the Hawaiian Islands have been reported to be psychoactive. Previous chemical analyses together with the present study indicate that five coprophilous and one non-coprophilous species occurring in the islands are now known to contain psychoactive alkaloids. At least some of these species are consumed in the Hawaiian Islands, as well as elsewhere, for non-traditional, recreational purposes. These include Copelandia cyanescens (Berk. et Br.) Singer, Copelandia tropicalis (Ola'h) Singer and Weeks (syn. Panaeolus tropicalis Ola'h), Copelandia anomala Murrill, and Panaeolus subbalteatus [Syn.=Panaeolus cinctulus] (Berk. and Br.) Sacc., which have already been described from the Hawaiian Islands. Three more mind-altering fungi and one non-psychoactive species are reported from this archipelago for the first time. These psychoactive fungi include Copelandia bispora (Malenšon et Bertault) Singer and Weeks from O'ahu, Copelandia cambodginiensis (Ola'h et Heim) Singer and Weeks from O'ahu, and Amanita muscaria (L.) Hooker from Kaua'i. Panaeolus goossensiae Beeli identified from O'ahu contains tryptamine compounds; however, the psychoactive alkaloids of psilocybin and psilocin were not found in this dung species. And Panaeolus antillarum, common in Hawaii [at times may] macroscopically resemble Copelandia species, but contain no active ingredients.

Keywords: Hawai'i; Copelandia spp.; Panaeolus spp.; psilocin; psilocybin.; Amanita muscaria.

1. Introduction
Non-traditional, recreational use of psychoactive fungi in the Hawaiian Islands has occurred for many years (Pollock, l974; Allen, l988; Allen and Merlin l989). Previous research of any kind pertaining to these species in Hawai'i has been very limited.

Recent field work, botanical identification, and chemical analyses indicate that six species belonging to Coprinaceae are used for recreational, albeit illicit, purposes in the Hawaiian Islands. These include: Copelandia cyanescens (Berk. et Br.) Singer (Figs. 1 and 2), Copelandia tropicalis (Ola'h) Singer and Weeks, Copelandia bispora (Malenšon et Bertault) Singer and Weeks (Figs. 3 and 4), Copelandia cambodginiensis (Ola'h et Heim) Singer and Weeks (Fig. 5), Copelandia anomala Murrill, and Panaeolus subbalteatus (Berk. et Br.) Saccardo (Figs. 6-7). Most of these melanosporous species, except C. anomala, are primarily coprophilous, found growing in ruminant dung, or occurring in grassy areas where manure had previously been deposited (Table 1). They all contain the hallucinogenic indole alkaloids of psilocybin and psilocin (Weeks et al., 1979; Pollock, 1974).

Fig. 1. Copelandia cyanescens (Berk. et Br.) Singer.
Average sized specimens from Grass fed Cattle. Photo: J. W. Allen, Kualoa, O'ahu.

Fig. 2. Copelandia cyanescens (Berk. et Br.) Singer.
Large specimens common in the dung of grain fed cattle.
Photo: J. W. Allen, Livestock and Experimental Farm, Kahuku, O'ahu.

Fig. 3. Copelandia bispora Malenšon et Bertault) Singer and Weeks.
Observe the pitted and wrinkled caps resulting from sun exposure.
Photo: J. W. Allen. Livestock and Experimental Farm, Kahuku, O'ahu, near Sunset Beach.

Fig. 4. Copelandia bispora (Malenšon et Bertault) Singer and Weeks.
Another collection from grain fed cattle.
PHOTO by J. W. Allen: Oahu. Kahuku, Experimental and Livestock Farm.

Fig. 5. Copelandia cambodgeniensis (Ola'h et Heim) Singer and Weeks.
Typical morphology of Copelandia referred to as 'gold tops' and or 'golden caps.'
Photo: J. W. Allen. Kahalu'u, O'ahu.

Fig. 6. Panaeolus subbalteatus (Berk. et Br.) Sacc.
Youthful growth of freshly collected fruiting bodies.
Photo: J. W. Allen. Common in Kula, Maui.

Fig. 7. Panaeolus subbalteatus (Berk et Br.)
Fruiting bodies in late stages of development.
Photo: J. W. Allen. Common at the Livestock and Experimental Farm, Kahuku, O'ahu, North Shore, Oahu.

Seven other coprophilous species recently collected and identified in the Hawaiian Islands (Hemmis, 1989, Pers. Comm.) are recognized as containing tryptamine derivatives, but have never been confirmed as psychoactive (Stijve, 1989, Pers. Comm., 1987; Lincoff and Mitchell, 1977, Pollock, 1976; Ola'h, 1970). These include Anellaria sepulchralis (Berk.) Singer (syn. Panaeolus antillarum (Fr.) Dennis sensu Dennis (Fig. 8), Panaeolus campanulatus (L.) Quel., Anellaria semiovata (Sow.) Pearson and Dennis (syn. Panaeolus semiovatus (Sow.) Lundell et Nannfelt (Fig. 9), Panaeolus sphinctrinus (Fr.) Quel, Panaeolus goossensiae Beeli (Fig. 10) and Psilocybe coprophila Guzmßn (Fig. 11). Previous to this study, P. goossensiae had only been reported from Central West Africa (pers. comm., Stijve, 1990). All of these species have been collected on O'ahu (Table 2); most, if not all, also occur on other volcanic islands of the archipelago in coprophilous association with alien hoofed mammals.

Fig. 8. Anellaria sepulchralis (Berk.) Singer (syn.=Panaeolus antillarum) (Fr.) Dennis sensu Dennis.
Photo: J. W. Allen. Kualoa, O'ahu.

Fig 9. Anellaria semiovata (Sow.) Pearson and Dennis (syn. Panaeolus semiovatus) (Sow) Lundell et Nannfelt.
Photo: T. Stijve, Vevey, Switzerland.

Fig. 10. Panaeolus goossensiae Beeli. Fruiting in cattle dung; macroscopically similar to Panaeolus Sphinctrinus (Fr.) Quel.
Photo: J. W. Allen, livestock and experimental farm, Kahuku, O'ahu.

Fig. 11. Psilocybe coprophila Guzmßn. Fruiting in horse dung.
Photo: J. W. Allen, Kualoa, O'ahu.

The Fly Agaric, Amanita muscaria (L.) Hooker (Fig. 12), which is known to have been used in the traditional rituals of several tribal societies (Wasson, l968), is sometimes employed for recreational use in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and elsewhere (Ott, 1978; Weil, l977). This agaric has been recently found growing in symbiosis with introduced Flash Pine tree plantations in the montane region of Kaua'i near Koke'e and Pelihale. All the coprophilous fungi species referred to above contain indole alkaloids; in contrast, A. muscaria contains ibotenic acid and muscimol, which have different physiological and mind-altering effects than psilocybin and psilocin (Schultes and Hoffman, l980.

Fig. 12. Amanita muscaria. Fresh specimens only known of from Kaua'i.
Photo: J. W. Allen, Astoria, Washington.

Both psilocybin and its dephosphorylated derivative psilocin were first detected in C. cyanescens by Heim, Hofmann, and Tscherter (1966), in C. tropicalis and C. cambodginiensis by Ola'h (1969, 1970), and in P. subbalteatus by Ola'h (1970). Baeocystin, a mono-analogue of psilocybin and psilocin, has also been detected in all four of the above mentioned species (Heim et al., 1966; Ola'h, 1970; Repke et al., 1977). Other tryptamines, such as norbaeocystin, N, N, dimethyltryptamine, 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonine), 5-hydroxytryptophan, and other indole related compounds have also been detected in these four species (Hall, 1973; Repke et al., 1977; Stijve, pers. comm., 1991).

Although no recent collections from Hawai'i of C. anomala and C. tropicalis have been reported in the scientific literature, and according to Weeks et al. (1979), no chemical analysis of C. anomala or C. bispora (nomen confusum) has been performed, the junior author of this paper (JWA), bioassayed C. bispora in 1988 and experienced a mild psilocybian intoxication. It should also be noted that Copelandia spp. are known to bruise intensely blue when handled. This bluing reaction in fungi is usually an indication of the presence of psilocybin and psilocin (Singer, 1975; Weeks et al., 1979).

Psychoactive Fungi of Hawaii  

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