last updated October 29th, 2006 and
is permanently morphing...
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1. Any of various fleshy fungi of the class Basidiomycota, characteristically having an umbrella-shaped cap borne on a stalk, especially any of the edible kinds, as those of the genus Agaricus.
2. Something shaped like one of these fungi.
mushroomed, mushrooming, mushrooms
1. To multiply, grow, or expand rapidly: The population mushroomed in the postwar decades.
2. To swell or spread out into a shape similar to a mushroom.
1. Relating to, consisting of, or containing mushrooms: mushroom sauce.
2. Resembling a mushroom in shape: a mushroom cloud.
3. Resembling mushrooms in rapidity of growth or evanescence: mushroom towns.
[Middle English musheron, from Anglo-Norman moscheron, musherum, from Old French mousseron, from Medieval Latin musario, musarion-.]
mushroom, fungus characterized by spore-bearing gills on the underside of an umbrella- or cone-shaped cap. The term mushroom is properly restricted to the plant's above-ground portion, which is the reproductive organ. Once a delicacy for the elite, edible mushrooms are now grown commercially, especially strains of the meadow mushroom (Agaricus campestris). Although mushrooms contain some protein and minerals, they are largely water and hence of limited nutritive value. Inedible, or poisonous, species are often popularly referred to as toadstools; one of the best-known poisonous mushrooms is the death angel (genus Amanita).
"I've mentioned that psilocin, which is what psilocybin quickly becomes as it enters your metabolism, is 4 hydroxy dimethyltryptamine. It is the only 4-substituted indole in all of organic nature. Let this rattle around in your mind for a moment. It is the only 4-substituted indole known to exist on earth. It happens to be this psychedelic substance that occurs in about eighty species of fungi, most of which are native to the New World. Psilocybin has a unique chemical signature that says, "I am artificial; I come from outside." I was suggesting that it was a gene - an artificial gene - carried perhaps by a spaceborne virus or something brought artificially to this planet, and that this gene has inssinuated itself into the genome of these mushrooms."
- Terence McKenna - _Archaic Revival_
604 track _Spores From Space? (A Microscopic Trace)_ MP3 by Cosmosis off of _Synergy_ 12"x2 on Transient
book _The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross_ by John M. Allegro. A dense work of etymology tracing the roots of christianity back to Sumerian fertility cults, with particular focus on the possible central position of psychedelic mushrooms in mystery rites among early christians. Valuable analysis of the sexual connotations of mushroom morphology, and of encrypted mushroom-related information in the _New Testament_. Allegro was one of the original Dead Sea Scrolls scholars.
"As the years went on and our knowledge grew, we discovered a surprising pattern in our data: each Indo-European people is by cultural inheritance either "mycophobe" or "mycophile," that is, each people either rejects and is ignorant of the fungal world or knows it astonishingly well and loves it. Our voluminous and often amusing evidence in support of this thesis fills many sections of our new book, and it is there that we submit our case to the scholarly world. The great Russians, we find, are mighty mycophiles, as are also the Catalans, who possess a mushroomic vocabulary of more than 200 names. The ancient Greeks, Celts and Scandinavians were mycophobes, as are the Anglo-Saxons. There was another phenomenon that arrested our attention: wild mushrooms from earliest times were steeped in what the anthropologists call mana, a supernatural aura. The very word "toadstool" may have meant originally the "demonic stool" and been the specific name of a European mushroom that causes hallucinations. In ancient Greece and Rome there was a belief that certain kinds of mushrooms were procreated by the lighting bolt.
We made the further discovery that this particular myth, for which no support exists in natural science, is still believed among many widely scattered peoples: the Arabs of the desert, the peoples of India, Persia and the Pamirs, the Tibetans and Chinese, the Filipinos and the Maoris of New Zealand, and even among the Zapotecs of Mexico... All of our evidence taken together led us many years ago to hazard a bold surmise: was it not probable that, long ago, long before the beginnings of written history, our ancestors had worshiped a divine mushroom? This would explain the aura of the supernatural in which all fungi seem to be bathed. We were the first to offer the conjecture of a divine mushroom in the remote cultural background of the European peoples, and the conjecture at once posed a further problem: what kind of mushroom was once worshiped and why?
"Our surmise turned out not to be farfetched. We learned that in Siberia there are six primitive peoples--so primitive that anthropologists regard them as precious museum pieces for cultural study--who use an hallucinogenic mushroom in their shamanistic rites. We found that the Dyaks of Borneo and the Mount Hagen natives of New Guinea also have recourse to similar mushrooms. In China and Japan we came upon an ancient tradition of a divine mushroom of immortality, and in India, according to one school, the Buddha at his last supper ate a dish of mushrooms and was forthwith translated to nirvana. When Cortez conquered Mexico, his followers reported that the Aztecs were using certain mushrooms in their religious celebrations, serving them, as the early Spanish friars put it, in a demonic holy communion and calling them teonanacatl, "God's flesh." But no one at that time made a point of studying this practice in detail, and until now anthropologists have paid little attention to it. We with our interest in mushrooms seized on the Mexican opportunity, and for years have devoted the few leisure hours of our busy lives to the quest of the divine mushroom in Middle America. We think we have discovered it in certain frescoes in the Valley of Mexico that date back to about 400 A.D., and also in the "mushroom stones" carved by the highland Maya of Guatemala that go back in one or two instances to the earliest era of stone carvings, perhaps 1000 B.C. "Little by little the properties of the mushrooms are beginning to emerge. The Indians who eat them do not become addicts: when the rainy season is over and the mushrooms disappear, there seems to be no physiological craving for them. Each kind has its own hallucinogenic strength, and if enough of one species be not available, the Indians will mix the species, making a quick calculation of the right dosage. The curandero usually takes a large dose and everyone else learns to know what his own dose should be. It seems that the dose does not increase with use. Some persons require more than others. An increase in the dose intensifies the experience but does not greatly prolong the effect. The mushrooms sharpen, if anything, the memory, while they utterly destroy the sense of time. On the night that we have described we lived through eons. When it seemed to us that a sequence of visions had lasted for years, our watches would tell us that only seconds had passed. The pupils of our eyes were dilated, the pulse of ran slow. We think the mushrooms have no cumulative effect on the human organism. Eva Mendez has been taking them for 35 years, and when they are plentiful she takes them night after night.
The mushrooms present a chemical problem. What is the agent in them that releases the strange hallucinations? We are now reasonably sure that it differs form such familiar drugs as opium, coca, mescaline, hashish, etc. But the chemist has a long road to go before he will isolate it, arrive at its molecular structure and synthesize it. The problem is of great interest in the realm of pure science. Will it also prove of help in coping with psychic disturbances? "
- Robert Gordon Wasson, banker. From an article in _Life Magazine_ (June 10, 1957)
The most organically prevalent--and
therefore, some would argue, most safe and effective--psychedelic
drug. Use of mushrooms containing the psychoactive substance
psilocybin is thousands of years old; modern U.S. use was popularized
through ethnomycologist R. Gordon Wasson's _Soma:
Divine Mushrooms of Immortality_
(1971) and through the writings of Timothy
Leary, who conducted experiments with prisoners
and synthetic psilocybin during the late '60s. Terence
McKenna, in _Food of the Gods_ (1992), argues that mushrooms possibly
represent the infiltration of an alien
intelligence on earth and may even have been responsible for humankind's acquisition
The long-acting tryptamines in Stropharia cubensis, the most common street
mushroom (besides the dealer-doctored store-bought variety), are usually
taken in doses of from one to five grams and give a visually complex five-to-seven-hour
high similar to LSD.
604 release _Holy Mushroom_ compilation CDx2 on High Society
604 release _Dance, Trance
Plants: Otherworld_ compilation 12"x2
604 release _The Gathering_ 12"x3 by Infected Mushroom on BNE/Yo Yo/Balloonia/Cosmophilia (1999)
604 release _Classical Mushroom_ CDb by Infected Mushroom (2000)
604 release _B.P. Empire_ CD by Infected Mushroom on Yoyo (2001)
The term mushroom refers to the above ground fruiting body (that is spore-producing structure) of a fungus, having a shaft and a cap; and in extension, refers to the entire fungus producing the fruiting body of such appearance, the former consisting of an extensive network (called the mycelium) of filaments or hyphae. In a very broader sense, mushroom is applied to any visible fungus, or especially the fruiting body of any fungus. The technical term for the spore-producing structure of "true" mushrooms is the basidiocarp.
Types of mushrooms
The main types of mushrooms are agarics, boletes, chanterelles, tooth fungi, polypores, puffballs, jelly fungi, coral fungi, bracket fungi, stinkhorns, and cup fungi. Mushrooms and other fungi are studied by mycologists. The "true" mushrooms are classified as Basidiomycota (also known as "club fungi"). A few mushrooms are classified by mycologists as Ascomycota (the "cup fungi"), the morel and truffle being good examples. Thus, the term mushroom is more one of common application to macroscopic fungal fruiting bodiers than one having precise taxonomic meaning.
Mushrooms are used extensively in cooking many cuisines. However, a number of species of mushrooms are poisonous, and these may resemble edible varieties, although eating them could be fatal. Picking mushrooms in the wild is extremely risky — far riskier than gathering edible plants — and a practice not to be undertaken by amateurs. This riskiness is due to the fact that separating edible from poisonous species is dependent upon the application of only a few easily recognizable traits. People who collect mushrooms for consumption are known as mushroom hunters, and the act of collecting them as such is called mushroom hunting — an activity with a potentially deadly outcome that one should be well prepared for before attempting.
Identifying mushrooms requires a basic understanding of their macroscopic structure. A "typical" mushroom consists of a cap or pileus supported on a stem or stipe. Both can have a variety of shapes and be ornamented in various ways. The underside of the cap (in agarics) is fitted with gills or lamellae where the actual spores are produced. How the gills are attached is another important characteristic used in identification. In the boletes, the gills are replaced by small openings called pores. Bracket fungi essentially lack a stipe, and the cap is attached like a bracket to the substratum, usually a log ot tree trunk. Some bracket fungi have gills, others have pores.
In general, identification to genus can be accomplished in the field using a local mushroom guide. Identification to species requires more work. Realize that a mushroom develops from a young bud into a mature structure and only the latter can provide certain identification of the species. Examination of mature spores, or at least knowing their color, is often essential. And to this end, a common method used to assist in identification is the spore print.
Of central interest with respect to chemical properties of mushrooms is the fact that many species produce secondary metabolites that render them toxic, hallucinogenic, or even bioluminescent. Toxicity likely plays a role in protecting the function of the basidiocarp: the mycelium has expended considerable energy and protoplasmic material to develop a structure to efficiently distribute its spores. One defense against consumption and premature destruction is the evolution of chemicals that render the mushroom inedible, either causing the consumer to regurgitate the meal or avoid consumption altogether.
Currently, many species of mushrooms and fungi utilized as folk medicines for thousands of years are under intense study by ethnobotanists and medical researchers. Maitake, Shiitake, and Reishi are prominent among those being researched for their anti-cancer, anti-viral, and/or immunity-enhancement properties.
Psilocybin mushrooms possess hallucinogenic properties and are commonly known as "'shrooms". A number of other mushrooms are eaten for their psychoactive effects, such as Fly Agaric.
Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies