What's so special about Penis Envy mushrooms?
If you've ever looked into the strength differences between each Psilocybin containing mushroom strain/variety, you would have likely come across some mention of Penis Envy mushrooms. On reddit for example, most users on mushroom and related subreddits have the common knowledge that the Penis Envy mushroom strain is generally penis shaped and produces stronger effects then the average Cubensis mushroom. Even well vetted Shroomery user RogerRabbit stated that "Cubes are cubes, with the exception of PE." Why though? And where did the original Penis Envy mushroom come from? What makes it so different then the others? While the history of P.E. is quite mysterious and not entirely full, we are going to touch on some interesting points that may give the reader a better idea of all the hype around this particular variety of P. Cubensis.
At one point mycologist John Allen proposed that that the original Penis Envy mushroom may have been found in the Amazon by Terrence and Dennis McKenna in the early 70’s. Hamilton Morris, a journalist who investigates psychoactive substances, also stated that the original specimen "was taller and thicker than anything found in American soils." and “A monstrous Amazonian mushroom growing on the dung of local Zebu cattle”. These statements were never confirmed to be entirely true by the McKenna brothers in terms of finding a penis shaped mushroom. Terrence often talked about masculine energies of the mushroom; you would think that he would remember a penis shaped one. The brothers did have many mushroom hunting expeditions (including a handful in the Amazon); so it seems much more likely that this fabled Amazonian spore sample found by the McKenna brothers is the parent of what we know as Penis Envy (i.e. genetic isolation).
The basic idea behind getting a mushroom to produce
stronger effects, have faster growth, get a greater yield, etc. has to do with
genetic isolation. An example of how this is done is via agar plates. This
basically entails filling a petri dish with agar, a substance that the mushroom
spores and or mycelium use to grow. This allows one to isolate genetics in a
variety of ways, as well continually modify/improve genetics with each
isolation so that one may progressively obtain their desired results. An
interesting side note, in a study it was found that psilocybin and psilocyn
were not found within spores, or even mycelium until the mycelium reached the knot
stage (Gross, 2000).
Mycelium in its "knot" stage - Image provided by Reddit
According to Hamilton Morris’ going theory, a pioneering Psilocybe Cubensis Mycologist Steven Pollock was mailed some of the original Amazon prints from the McKennas and likely isolated it himself which later led to the penis shaped mushroom, and Penis Envy mushroom strain. Before his unfortunate death, Pollock supposedly mailed another mycologist and print vendor Rich Gee a spore print labeled ‘Penis’!
Many thought this penis shaped mushroom had been lost after some time, but John Allen eventually found Rich Gee selling spore swabs (a sterile cotton swab wiped along the gills of a mushroom to collect spores) of Penis Envy. Around the same time a user on Shroomery was said to have a print from Terrence McKenna’s personal collection…. This may have been due to some confusion about Rich Gee saying he got the print from the McKennas originally, we really do not know for certain.
At this point its hard to tell where the original Penis Envy spore sample came from, and the name itself has no known origin either.
However, in another twist to the already baffling story of the P.E. mushroom, SporesWorldwide has received a message from Rich Gee regarding the claims of John Allen (“Mushroom John,” or mjshroomer on Shroomery.org). He writes:
The Penis Envy mushrooms began with Jewel Stevens [sic; a nickname for Jule Stevens, perhaps?] who dropped by my house to show me some Amazon mushrooms he had acquired. They supposedly came from Terence McKenna in a roundabout way. There was no bloody letter with spores sent to me by anyone. The mushrooms I saw were dried and looked normal. I cultured the spores and the mushrooms were grown in a hexagon plexiglass fish tank by Jule Stevens. In the tank there were 3 distinct strains, 2 normal and one different enough to attract my attention. This strain did not look like a penis. The strain was cultivated and the mushrooms that grew were long-stemmed with big heads. I picked the biggest one which just happened to be the one that blued the most. The next generations started to look like penises. Again the biggest and bluest one was cloned. For several more generations the biggest and most bluing mushroom was cloned culminating in large penis looking mushrooms. There was never any contact with McKenna and we never met to my knowledge.
One day I collected a bag full of mushrooms from a friend who was growing the Penis Envy so I could photograph them. At the time Jewel Stevens was dating an exotic dancer and when I stopped to visit him there were 6 dancers visiting his girlfriend. They wanted to know what I had in the bag. I said, "You don't want to know." They insisted so I pulled a gallon zip lock out of the bag and showed them the mushrooms. I said, "Anyone have Penis Envy!" The dancers said in unison, "They look like donkey dongs!!!” That's where the name came from.
Mushroom John has told many stories about the Penis Envy but none of it is correct and mostly his imagination.
Incredible! We may finally have an explanation for the origin of the name of the Penis Envy mushroom; and how convenient it is that its naming fits with its Freudian inspiration.
I think that even though the air around the Penis Envy mushroom strain is quite uncertain, we can be certain of a few things. First of all, its pretty darn cool to think that any one of the legends mentioned above had something to do with this heavily sought-after P. Cubensis strain/variety. On top of that, whatever happened to the Penis Envy genetics along the way for some reason made them a lot stronger than the average Cubensis mushroom, and also made it shaped like a penis. Pretty trippy! Whatever mushroom alchemy went on here, I think its some proper good alchemy at that! This unique variety of Psilocybin Cubensis will surely go down in the mycology history books.
Lastly, we will briefly list the other types of Penis Envy mushrooms that are well known to the public. In later articles these will be discussed in more detail.
Albino Penis Envy – Cross of P.E. with Albino (see image below)
Image courtesy of Imgur
Penis Envy Uncut – Another cross of P.E. with Albino
Penis Envy #6 – Texas crossed with P.E.
Albino Penis Envy Revert – A stabilized mutant substrain of Albino Penis
Envy (see pictures below)
Stay tuned for more informative articles!