Panaeolus are poisonous, saprotrophic fungi related to Bolbitiaceae. The body of the fruit is usually brown, the cap is conical, flared to hemispherical in shape, and sometimes also spreads when fully developed. The stem sits in the center of the hat and, with the exception of Panaeolus semiovatus, has no ring.
The word Panaeolus is Greek and means “all colorful” and refers to the stained gills of the mushrooms produced. The spores are smooth or rough, with a germinal pore, and all species, except Panaeolus foenisecii, have a deep black spore print.
Panaeolus always occur in grasslands with manure deposits. Due to these location requirements, fertilizers are widespread in rangelands in all areas where livestock are raised. Almost all fungi in the Panaeolus genus contain serotonin, urea, and tryptophan. Some species also contain the psychoactive indole alkaloids psilocybin and psilocin.
These fungi are primarily dung and grassland species, some of which are widespread in Europe and North America.
Members of Panaeolus can also be confused with Psathyrella, however the latter genus generally grows on wooden or lignin-enriched soils and has brittle stems.