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Psilocybe cordispora R. Heim

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Scientific name
Psilocybe cordispora
R. Heim
Common names
Atkad (Mexico, mixes, Coatlán) meaning "Judge"
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Preliminary Category
EN A3c
Proposed by
Ricardo Garcia-Sandoval
Roberto Garibay Orijel, Ricardo Garcia-Sandoval
Roberto Garibay Orijel
Roberto Garibay Orijel
Comments etc.
Anders Dahlberg

Assessment Notes

This species was described in 1959, and is only known from three subpopulations in three states in Mexico. All the known subpopulations have mountain cloud forest vegetation type, and despite this genus has been extensible studied in the continent, and the world (Guzmán 1983, 2005; Ramírez-Cruz 2010), and the region has been extensively collected, those are the only known localities for the species.
Also this species has biocultural relevance because it is consumed as part of rituals by Mixe and Mazateco people in the Northern part of Oaxaca and South-Central part of Veracruz. Additionally, because of its hallucinogenic properties, this species is consumed for recreational proposes.
Models for the effect of climate change in mountain cloud forest in Mexico, predicts a reduction of 68% in forest coverage over the next 60 years (Ponce-Reyes et al 2012).
Considering the extent of knowledge for this genus in the area, the known subpopulations are considered to represent its real distribution.


This species is only known from localities with mountain cloud forest, and considering the extensive research and exploration for this genus in this area (Guzmán 1983, 2005; Ramirez-Cruz 2010), it is likely that the species do not distribute in other vegetation type. Two out of three known subpopulations (Veracruz and Oaxaca) are in urban or suburban areas, and subject to severe pressure because of human activities and urbanization. Also this localities are predicted to be reduced in 68% over the next 60 years because of the effect of climate change (Ponce-Reyes et al. 2012). The remaining subpopulation is in Jalisco, inside protected areas, but still vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Considering its distribution, the specificity of habitat, and the vulnerability of vegetation type, the species is considered to Endangered under criteria A3c, because it is suspected a reduction in the area and quality of habitat of more than 50% in the next three generations.

Taxonomic notes

Psilocybe cordispora R. Heim, Revue Mycol., Paris 24: 103 (1959)

This species was described from Huautla de Jimenez, Oaxaca, Mexico, from a mountain cloud forest locality. Original description was in French, and a Latin diagnosis was provided later on (Heim 1959). This species can be recognized from similar ones because of its narrow spores and its unbranched cheilocystidia (Guzman 1983). Because dignostic characters are microscopic, this species is frequently confused with P. heimii, and P. mamillata.

It has not synonyms, neither homotypic or heterotypic, and non variety of form has been described.

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

This species is only known from three subpopulations in Mexico, all with mountain cloud forest, a vegetation type predicted to be reduced in 68% over the next 60 years because of global warming. Additionaly, two of the subpopulations are in suburban areas, and are susceptible to the effects of human activity.
This species represent in important biocultural resource in the region, because it is an hallucinogenic consumed as part of rituals by Mixe and Mazateco people. Because of its hallucinogenic properties, it is also consumed for recreational purposes.
This species is known from very few places, despite extensive research conducted in the area, and because of the vulnerability of its habitat, its biocultural relevance, and the extra pressures from human activities (consumption included), this species should be listed as Endangered.

Geographic range

This species is only known from mountain cloud forest in Mexico. It has been collected in Northern Oaxaca, Central Veracruz, and Southern Jalisco. This species is known from four localities in the state of Oaxaca, the surroundings of Huautla de Jimenez, near Puente de Fierro, San Juan Mazatlan,  Huautla de Jimenez, and Coatlan. All the localities in Oaxaca are very near, and are likely to correspond to the same subpopulation. All the vegetation patches where this species has been collected in Oaxaca are located in suburban areas, subject to cattle husbandry and other human activities.
In Veracruz this species has been collected in patches of mountain cloud forest few kilometers north from Xalapa, at Chiconquiaco, also a suburban area, subject to cattle husbandry and other human activities.
In Jalisco, this species is known from Camino a las Joyas in the Sierra de Manantlan, in an protected area, were the effect of human activities is reduced.

Population and Trends

This species is only known from three subpopulations in Mexico in the states of Oaxaca, Veracruz and Jalisco, all with mountain cloud forest vegetation. This species was described in 1959, from specimens collected in the area of Huautla de Jimenez, Oaxaca, and later Guzman et al. (1988) recorded an additional subpopulation in the sierra of Manantlan, Jalisco. An additional specimen, collected in Veracruz in 1965, is deposited at MEXU herbaria (MEXU 2997).
Neither, a monographic treatment of the genus by Guzman (1983), or the supplement to such monograph (1995), reported additional localities. Also and additional monographic treatment was conducted few years later (Ramirez-Cruz 2010), but no additional subpopulatios or specimens were recorded for this species.
Since 1959 only three subpopulations are known. Considering the extensive taxonomic work conducted over that period (three monographs and several papers), it is very likely that the known subpopulations represents the real distribution of the species.
The subpopulation in Sierra de Manantlan, Jalisco, is located inside a protected natural area, were urbanization and other human activities have limited impact, but the area still is susceptible to the effect of climate change.
The subpopulations in Oaxaca and Veracruz are located in suburban areas, and are subject to pressures from human activities, and those from the effect of climate change.
Based on climate change models, mountain cloud forest in Mexico is estimated to decline 68% over the next 60 years (Ponce-Reyes et al. 2012). This would result in a significant decline in suitable habitat for Psilocybe cordispora.

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology

This species is only known from subpopulations with mountain cloud forest vegetation type. One of the subpopulation is located near Xalapa, in Veracruz, and the others in the states of Oaxaca and Veracruz. This species is considered to be saprophytic, and do not establish specific associations with plants, but it is only know from localities with mountain cloud forest, and some level of preference for that vegetation type is assumed, considering the very extensive sampling that has been conducted since it was described in 1959.

Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane Forest


Chiconquiaco is a small town, with very small and fragmented patches of mountain cloud forest, located few kilometers from Xalapa. The area is susceptible disturbance from human activities, and also is susceptible to the effcets of climate change over the mountain cloud forest.
Another subpopulation is located the surroundings of Huautla de Jimenez, Oaxaca. This is a small town, with patches of mountain cloud forest. The area have middle size human settles, and the forest is under pressure because of the regular forestry activity. The area is not considered under any protective regime. Also this species is consumed as part of regular ritual activities by the Mazateco and Mixe people in the area, and also is known to be consumed for recreational proposes by tourist and other visitors.
The subpopulation in Sierra de Manantalan in jalisco it is located in a protected area, and it is not susceptible to human activities, but because of the forest type, it is susceptible to the effect of climate change.
In Mexico, the mountain cloud forest represents 1% of the forest, and is projected to decline in 68% over the next 60 years, because of the effect of climate change (Ponce-Reyes et al. 2012).
The subpopulation in jalisco is considered to be less vulnerable to human activity, but still vulnerable to climate change. On the other hand the subpopulations in Oaxaca and Veracruz are considered to be vulnerable to climate change and human activities.

Housing & urban areasSmall-holder farmingSmall-holder plantationsIntentional use (species being assessed is the target)Recreational activitiesHabitat shifting & alteration

Conservation Actions

The major threats for this species are the effects of the climate change in the quality and extension of its habitat, and from human activities in the areas were the species distributes. Also consumption may be an extra source of pressure, but its impact is not known.
In consequence, site protection and global warming mitigation are needed.

Site/area protectionHarvest managementInternational level

Research needed

For this species research is needed to locate additional subpopulations, with emphasis in the states of Oaxaca and Veracruz, where the subpopulations are not under special protection.
Also research is needed regarding phylogenetic relationships of this species in the context of the genus. Because this species is extremely rare (few specimens over decades), there are no DNA sequences available. Also research regarding culture conditions in laboratory may complement conservation efforts.
Also research is needed regarding the relationships of Mixe and Mazateco people wit this species, and other Psilocybe species used for cultural activities. This species are considered “magic mushrooms”, and because of large exposure to tourism, some of the biocultural practices traditional from the region, may need to be documented and preserved, as well as the species.

TaxonomyPopulation size, distribution & trendsHarvest, use & livelihoodsHarvest & Trade Management Plan

Use and Trade

This species is hallucinogenic and its consumption is documented as part of biocultural activities from Mixe and Mazateco people in the region. Also recreational consumption is assumed, but non official records are available, because recreational use is not allowed by Mexican law.  There are no records of trade for the species, because its trading is banned by Mexican law.

Food - humanMedicine - human & veterinary


Guzmán, G. (2005). Species Diversity of the Genus Psilocybe (Basidio- mycotina, Agaricales, Strophariaceae) in the World Mycobiota, with Special Attention to Hallucinogenic Properties. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 7, 305-331.
Guzmán, G., Jacobs, J. Q., Ramírez-Guillén, F., Murrieta, D. y Gándara, E. (2005). The Taxonomy of Psilocybe fagicola-complex. The Journal of Microbiology, 43(2), 158-165
Guzmán, G. (1983). The genus Psilocybe. Nova Hedwigia 74, Cramer.
Guzmán, G. (1995). Supplement to the monograph of the genus Psilocybe. Taxonomic Monographs of Agaricales. Bibliotheca Mycologica 159, 91-141.
Guzmán, G., Horak, E., Halling, R., Ramírez-Guillén, F. (2009). Further studies on Psilocybe from thr Caribbean, Central America and South America, with descriptions of new species and remarks to new records. Sidowia 61, 215-242.
Ponce-Reyes, R., Nicholson, E., Baxter, P. W. J., Fuller, R. A. and Possingham, H. (2012). Extinction risk in cloud forest fragments under climate change and habitat loss. Diversity and Distributions 19, 518–529.
Ramírez-Cruz, V. (2010). Taxonomía y análisis filogenético del género Psilocybe sensu lato (Fungi, Agaricales). Tesis de Doctorado en Ciencias en Biosistemática, Ecología y Manejo de Recursos Naturales y Agrícolas. Universidad de Guadalajara, México.
Wasson, R. G., & Heim, R. (1959). Les Champignons hallucinogènes du Mexique: études ethnologiques, taxinomiques, biologiques, physiologiques et chimiques. Muséum national d’historie de Paris.

Country occurrence

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted