P. azurescens: Coastal Beauty of the West
Naturally occurring along a narrow expanse of the West Coast, P. azurescens graces the landscapes of Oregon and California. This enigmatic mushroom has been spotted as far south as Depoe Bay, Oregon, and as far north as Grays Harbor County, Washington. Its heartland is nestled around the Columbia River Delta, with initial sightings in Hammond, Oregon, near Astoria. Venturing north, it thrives along the Columbia River in Washington, from Long Beach to Westport, and has even been reported in Stuttgart, Germany.
While its encounters are sporadic, P. azurescens occasionally emerges around decaying wood in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where psilocybin was decriminalized in 2020. Ilwaco, Washington, hosts a notable population, but the cautious reminder lingers that harvesting may incur potential misdemeanors enforced by local law.
This species, known for its preference for deciduous wood-chips and sandy soils rich in woody debris, exhibits a fascinating penchant for coastal dune grasses. Its mycelial mat is both extensive and tenacious, causing the whitening of wood. Fruiting season commences in late September, dancing through the landscape until the frosty months of “late December and early January,” as eloquently noted by mycologist Paul Stamets. The natural beauty of P. azurescens unfolds in its coastal habitats, creating a captivating spectacle for those fortunate enough to witness its ephemeral presence.