Magic mushrooms, which contain psilocybin, fall into the category of natural psychedelics. These mushrooms have a rich history in ancient cultures and are still being consumed today by modern psychonauts to enter into a deeper connection with themselves, the earth and others. Many consumers choose to grow their own mushrooms at home and have many types and varieties to choose from. However, there are those who cannot. Those who can’t or don’t want to grow mushrooms but still want to get their hands on them can try picking mushrooms in nature. There are over 200 species of mushrooms that produce psilocybin, some of which are more common and easier to identify than others.
Before we discuss some of the species found in the wild, let’s start with some common sense.
A little warning
Mycology, the study and science of fungi, is a relatively new field. There are currently more than 10,000 known species of fungi, and potentially hundreds of thousands more have yet to be discovered. Many people pick mushrooms for culinary and medicinal purposes, but are well aware of their potential dangers. Any experienced and knowledgeable mushroom farmer will tell you roughly the same thing.” There are experienced and unscrupulous mushroom hunters, but there are no experienced and unscrupulous mushroom hunters.” There’s also a saying in the mushroom world, “All mushrooms can be eaten, but some can only be eaten once.”
Always keep these two pieces of advice in mind when hunting for mushrooms. When identifying mushrooms, you need to pay attention to details to distinguish edible mushrooms from poisonous or potentially deadly mushrooms. If you value your life and health, you need to do your own research first before you even think about picking magic mushrooms.
Tips on How to Identify Magic Mushrooms
When you find a mushroom, you need to properly examine all of these characteristics and compare them to a quality field guide. What is the size and shape of the stem? Is it growing from a cow, a branch, or directly from the ground? What is the colour of the blade? Is it loose, attached, calibrated, or serrated? Is the cap conical, convex, concave, or umbrella-shaped? What is the colour of the spore print? Did you find it in the forest or a field?
This series of questions is not meant to intimidate or discourage you, but to alert you to the many details that must be considered in order to collect mushrooms safely. Always take a good field guide and, if possible, an experienced mycologist with you.
The Most Common Magic Mushroom Species
Over 200 species of psilocybin mushrooms can be found in the wild around the world, from the hardy grasslands of England to the rainforests of South America. A small number of species, however, are more commonly sought out and collected by followers. Here are some mushrooms that are relatively easy to identify. The typical sign of finding a psilocybin mushroom is that it turns blue when scratched, but other species also have this characteristic.
Needless to say, it is important to identify them correctly. It may end up saving your life. Take your time and become familiar with the fascinating science of mycology. Always have a comprehensive and reliable field guide on hand, and consider joining a local mycology club to learn the basics of fungal identification.