Mexican Liberty Caps, Pajaritos, Nizé

Psilocybe mexicana, a magic mushroom strain from the subtropical regions of Mexico, was the glorious specimen from which, in 1958, Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann (discoverer of LSD) isolated, synthetized and named the principal psychedelic compounds psilocybin and psilocin. The compound itself, was named after the Psilocybe genus from the Greek roots psilos “bare and kybé “head”, “bald head”.

Psilocybe mexicana’s tall, thin stature and its nipple-like cap resembles a lot Liberty caps aka Psilocybe semilanceata; for that reason, it is often referred to as the Mexican Liberty Cap. Both species have affinities for similar habitats and grow a sclerotia that can also be consumed. Psilocybe authority Stamets says Psilocybe Mexicana is to subtropical grassland what P. semilanceata is to temperate grassland.

This very special magic mushroom strain is amongst the shamanic fungi consumed two thousand years ago in sacred ceremonies by the Aztecs. It is the most sough after and prized specie preferred by the Mazatec healers in Oaxaca. Known by the name teotlnanácatl, from the Nahuatl language: teotl “god” and nanácatl “fungus” or “god’s flesh” or “sacred flesh”, these mind-altering organisms were believed to be a connection to the sacred, the beyond. They were consumed fresh or dried, mixed in honey or served with chocolate.

The many endearing epithets P. mexicana has all resonate with its small size, joyous and transformative nature: Angelitos (little angels), Chamaquitos (the kids), Pajaritos (little birds) or Nizé (little birds in Nahuatl). It seems this strain inspires both youth and reason, something light, something deep: like an old soul in a child’s body.
Said to have a moderate to high potency similar to the Allen strain and P. atlantis, it is a popular choice for those seeking recreational or spiritual experiences. Albert Hofmann’s, who consumed 32 separate specimens of P. mexicana over the course of months reported in his book “The Botany and Chemistry of Hallucinogens” that “all voluntary efforts to look at things in their customary forms and colours were ineffective.” For him psychedelics were a tool to help us be who we were supposed to be: attentive, creative, joyful, contemplative, and grounded beings.

Visual Description

• Cap: 0.5-3 cm broad. Conic to bell-shaped to convex at maturity, often with a small umbo. Surface viscous to smooth when wet. Margin has translucent striates and sometimes is decorated with fine fibrils. Coloration varies with humidity (hygrophanous): brownish to deep orangish brown, to yellow and opaque in drying. Has blueish or greenish tones when injured of from age. • Gills: adnate to adnexed. Coloration is pale gray to purplish-brown with whitish edges. • Stem: slender: 40-120 mm tall by 1-3 mm thick. Equal, smooth and hollow inside. Coloration is reddish-brown. Darkens and turning bluish when bruised. No ring. • Spore print: dark purplish-brown. • Microscopic features: 8-12 x 5-8 µ. • Odor and taste: farinaceous (freshly grounded flour).


MODERATE 0.25% - 0.75% On an old specimen: 0.25% psilocybin, 15% psilocin (Heim and Hofmann, 1958). Fresh specimen are undoubtably more potent. P. mexicana's mycelium and sclerotia have psilocybin, though less potent than fruiting body. It is said to have a similar potency to P. samuiensis and P. atlantis.

Habitat Origin

Believed to be native to Central America & North America. Found (to date) only in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica. Fruiting in June through September in subtropical Mexico (Michocan, Morelos, Jalisco, Oaxaca, Puebla, western Xalapa and Veracruz) and Guatemala (Stamet). Grows alone or in small groups on moss, humid meadows or corn fields, with a preference to grassy areas at the border of deciduous forests. Most common in horse pastures and elevations of 1000-1800 metres. As it is a mycorrhizal fungus, so it grows in meadows hosting species such as: sweetgum, oaks, alders and others.


Consumers seem to agree that the Mexican Liberty Caps don’t nurture that feeling of anxiety that often comes with the first wave of euphoria. Reported to offer a smooth, clean high with a steady play on the eyes. Chemist Dr. Hofmann described experiencing a “six hours long condition” in which his Germanic colleague transformed into an Aztec priest and where his eyes, open or closed, saw whirlpool of Mexican colours and motifs. He depicted his return from this strange fantastic place to his everyday reality to be a happy one, with a feeling of an experience that left him experienced. The Mazatec who call the mushroom "nizé" meaning little bird and "nti-xi-tjo-ni-se" which implies that it makes you sing like a bird. One can only imagine the state of euphoria. To this day, the Mazatec indigenous people of the region of Oaxaca still consume P. mexicana for spiritual and ritualistic use. They believe it has the power to transform our mind by unlocking and elevating it to another type of consciousness. It is accustomed that members of the same family participate in these sacred ceremonies called Veladas (“evening” in Spanish). They consume the mushrooms in pairs, to echo the dualistic nature of life and only at night (they say if it was in daylight, they would go mad).