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Gymnopilus is a genus of gilled mushrooms within the fungal family Strophariaceae containing about 200 rusty-orange spored mushroom species formerly divided among Pholiota and the defunct genus Flammula. The fruit body is typically reddish brown to rusty orange to yellow, medium to large, often with a well-developed veil. Most members of Gymnopilus grow on wood but at times may appear terrestrial if the wood is buried or decomposed. Members of Pholiota and Cortinarius are easy to confuse with Gymnopilus. Pholiota can be distinguished by its viscid cap and duller (brown to cinnamon brown) spores, and Cortinarius grows on the ground. Beginners can confuse with Galerina, which contains deadly poisonous species.
Mushrooms that contain psilocybin are commonly referred to as hallucinogenic or magic mushrooms. Psilocybe, Panaeolus, Conocybe, and Gymnopilus are the four genera in North America that contain psilocybin (Smolinske, 1994). Many of these mushrooms are coprophilic and grow in fields and animal pastures, particularly in the northwestern and southeastern United States. The majority of mushrooms contain only psilocybin, but some, such as Psilocybe cyanescens, contain both psilocybin and psilocin. The concentrations of psilocybin and psilocin are influenced by growth conditions, geographic location, storage conditions, and species. Species commonly found in the Pacific Northwest contain between 1.2 and 16.8 mg/kg psilocybin on a dry weight basis. If psilocin is present, concentrations may reach up to 9.6 mg/kg on a dry weight basis (Smolinske, 1994). Psilocin and psilocybin are sensitive to heat. Some mushrooms in this group also contain other pharmacologically active substances, such as serotonin and tryptophan. There is only one published report of hallucinogenic mushroom ingestion in a dog