Mushroom Taxonomy – Mushroom Strains, Species & Facts

When you’re just starting out as an amateur microscopist, there’s a lot to learn about mushroom spore strains, mushroom species, and about mushroom fungi facts.

Sometimes, terms, jargon, and certain topics can feel overwhelming—especially if you have an interest in focusing your efforts on studying psilocybe mushroom spores. This area of the microscopy hobby has a long history with many different voices offering their opinions and advice. But where do you start?

Special Mushroom Spores Species and Strains

A good place to begin is by learning the very crucial difference between a species and a strain. Not all mushrooms are made alike. As you’ll soon learn, special mushroom spores that generate cubensis mushrooms have different characteristics that become apparent when you work with spores and mushrooms in the laboratory.

First, we’ll lay a little groundwork by explaining the taxonomic ranks (and, specifically, what rank a species falls under). Then, we’ll talk a bit about mushroom species. Finally, we’ll discover what a strain is and detail some of the more popular psilocybe mushroom spore strains, and how they became so famous.

➢ There’s lots to learn about the topic of mushroom strains like psilocybe azurescens or about the different types strains and species types.

Taxonomic Ranks Classifications

To understand what a species is, you may have to think back to the biology class you took as a kid. As you might recall, all living things are classified into what are called taxonomic ranks—that’s where the term “taxonomy” comes from, which essentially means “the science of classification.”

Learn more about taxonomic rank for added science of classification information.

There are eight major taxonomic ranks.

  • Domain
  • Kingdom
  • Phylum (or sometimes division in the botanical and mycological sciences)
  • Class
  • Order
  • Family
  • Genus
  • Species

Psilocybe Cubensis Potency in Mushroom Species

As you can see, species is the most granular of the major taxonomic ranks. For example, mushroom is a popular species of psilocybe-containing fungi and mushroom strength varies from species to species.

It is a member of the genus Psilocybe, which is in the family Hymenogastraceae, which is in the order Agaricales of the class Agaricomycetes, which falls under the division Basidiomycota in the kingdom Fungi.

What’s the Difference Between a Species and a Strain?

A strain is a genetic variant of a certain species. It can be thought of as further granularity within the taxonomic ranks — a subtype.

For example, Golden Teacher, Penis Envy Mushrooms, and Creeper mushrooms are all members of the mushroom species, but each are quite distinct.

Golden Teacher Mushrooms: Golden Teacher Mushrooms are a known species for having a lower psilocybe content than other cubensis (and for beginners, this can be desirable). In the wild, it has long winding stems and beautiful, wide, golden caps.

Penis Envy Mushrooms: Penis Envy Mushrooms, on the other hand, is very different. In the wild, it has a thick stem and a bulbous cap, nowhere near as wide as a Golden Teacher—it also has a much higher psilocybe concentration at maturity.

The point is that as an amateur microscopist, seeing the precursors to these natural properties in the fungi’s spore stage of development can be interesting indeed!

Also, take note that all these fungi are from the same species, but they’re very different. There’s an incorrect notion in the microscopy and mycology communities that “a cube is a cube” (or in other words, that all mushroom are basically the same). Nothing could be further from the truth!

Other Members of the Psilocybe Genus Commonly Called Mushrooms

Amanita muscaria mushrooms
Note that other genera of fungi may contain special compounds but are not members of the special mushroom genus; pictured, for example, is Amanita muscaria, which doesn’t contain psilocybe. Instead, this fungi has the psychoactive components ibotenic acid and muscimol.

Types of Mushroom Spores

There are, of course, many other species of Psilocybe other than mushroom and therefore different types of mushroom spores. The reason cubensis is so popular is because of its ease to work with in the lab – it’s much easier to place under your microscope than many other species, and its general wide availability.

How To Identify Mushrooms

Other common psilocybe-containing species such as special mushroom, Psilocybe semilanceata, Psilocybe mexicana and more all have their own unique characteristics. You can learn more about these species in our article How to Identify Psilocybe Mushrooms and learn about ‘what do shrooms look like?’

What are the Best Mushroom Spore Strains?

There is no “best” psilocybe cubensis strain – it really comes down to your preference. Are you very confident working in the lab and could thus handle a more delicate spore strain, or do you want to work with one that’s very resistant to contamination? Do you want an explosively potent studying experience, or one that’s rather mild and easygoing?