In some states and some countries, consuming (or distributing) psychoactive mushrooms is illegal. This hub is in no way suggesting that you should go looking for or eat psychedelic fungi. If you do so, it is at your own risk.
That being said, there are no laws against finding, possessing or studying any fungi, and there are plenty of people who have a legal right to hunt magic mushrooms, or whom are going to do so anyway, and I would like to help make sure those persons are safe. Hunting psychedelic mushrooms is a very particular past time, and one that takes time and patience to do right.
Please also keep in mind that this hub is a short, general and growing guide for people who are already pursing other guides and forms of information. This should not be your only guide, nor should it be considered definitive. There are plenty of wonderful places online and in your city, where you can gain a lot more information and build resources.
If you have anything positive to add, please comment below and add to the info.
Step 1. Know thy enemy...
Before hunting for any form of mushroom, the first thing you need to know, is what common poisonous mushrooms grow in your area. There are many poisonous mushrooms that mimic the looks of both edible and psychotropic mushrooms, and you don't want to make the mistake of picking them.
Many poisonous mushrooms can kill you within an hour, others can do so up to a week after consumption and still others are poisonous to handle. You need to know these mushrooms VERY well before picking anything, otherwise you could be among the many who make a fatal mistake.
Every area has different poisonous mushrooms that populate more then others, so you'll need to research them for your area and look around at what you find growing. Poisonous mushrooms are the most common kind of mushroom you will find, and they grow just about anywhere. The most common are the Amanita Muscara, little brown mushrooms and autumntails. As a good rule of thumb, it's also important to remember that edible or psychotropic mushrooms are RARELY brightly colored. A mushroom with bright colors is warning "I'm poisonous! Don't eat me!"
Step 2. Fit to eat
Once you've taken the time to identify the mushrooms you want to avoid, your next objective is to identify edible mushrooms. There are several good reasons for this. First, edible mushrooms are more common then psychedelic mushrooms, but much less common then poisonous mushrooms. So you'll have an easier time finding edible mushrooms, and once you can distinguish the difference between what is edible and what is poisonous, you'll have one more skill necessary to keep yourself safe in the world of mycology. Second, it's much more useful to know which mushrooms are safe to eat, then which ones are going to be magical.
You'll want to take the time to learn about what edible mushrooms are the most common in your area, as well as getting a strong idea for some rare edible mushrooms in your area. In general though, there are some edible mushrooms that are common in just about any region. Some of them are:
*White Button Mushrooms
*Shaggy Mane Inky Caps
Research and get to know these mushrooms well, and remember to take along a mushroom identification guide when you go hunting for edible mushrooms. Most important of all, make sure not to eat any of them until you are positive as what they are.
Step 3. Psychedelic Situations..
Psychedelic Mushrooms a.k.a. Magic Mushrooms, have a very interesting history with humankind. They have been used for medicine and guides to the other worlds. They have been connected with fertility, abundance, knowledge, wisdom and art. Cultural scientists have found connections between humans and psychedelic mushrooms as far back as 40,000 years ago. They believe it has a lot to do with some of the greatest rock art found in prehistoric times, which led to the creation of the first forms of writing.
Magic mushrooms have been a part of our history and will continue to be a part of our future, regardless of social norms. There is just something about the power in them that calls to the basic nature of all beings.
With that in mind, remember that throughout history, those that have sought to find or consume psychedelic mushrooms (or any hallucinogenic plants) without proper knowledge, have paid the price for it. They are not something you can rush out and find and then jovially eat up in hopes for a high. They are to be respected in every aspect. Consider them like the deadly Daddy Longlegs, who rarely ever bites a human, but who contains some of the most poisonous venom in the world for one of earths smallest creature. You'll probably be safe, but at any moment a wrong move could be fatal. So please be careful.
That being said, hunting for psychedelic mushrooms takes time to learn and you will need to develop a lot of patience for it. It can take years to even learn to find one particular type of psychedelic mushroom. These special little fungi are illusive and take particular skill to identify. And even the most seasoned hunters will tell you that you cannot always be 100% about what you find. Mushrooms are ever evolving, just as all things are, and you don't want to put anything in your body if you aren't 99.9% sure of what you have.
In order to hunt for magic mushrooms, you need to always be aware of your surroundings. Where is the mushroom growing? Is it in a meadow, a wheat field, an evergreen forest, a jungle, a beach, a playground? What are the mushrooms growing out of or feeding on? Rotting wood, wood chips, dirt, dung? What season is it? What temperature was it outside when you found them? What other plants or trees were growing near by? Was it really wet, dry or humid when you found them? These are all questions you should ask yourself when you find mushrooms you suspect might be psychedelic.
Poisonous mushrooms will often grow under any condition, edible mushrooms often have their seasons but are usually pretty abundant year round. Magic mushrooms are a different breed. You might find their perfect habitat one year, in just the right weather and not find any. Then the next year, in the same place, there they are. In another token, you might find them fruiting in an area that looks like they have no business being in, but they are there. It can be confusing, tiring and patience testing.
When you have discovered what appears to be a patch of fruiting magic mushrooms, your best course of action is to pick just a few. Be gentle and pull them up with the roots attached and place them in a paper bag. Plastic bags will melt them into mushy nonsense and ruin your research, so don't use plastic bags. Make sure to also place any of the substrate (the materials it's growing out of) into the collection bag, and write down on a note pad where they were growing, what they were growing out of, etc. Note their color, texture, scent and shape.
Once you have collected them, remove the caps and place them gill side down on a white piece of paper, then place a glass over the top of them to protect from wind. Then wait 2 to 4 hours before touching anything again. This is called a spore printing. It is one of the surest ways of identifying the type of mushroom you have found. Nearly all psychedelic mushrooms are known for having dark blue, purple and/or black spore prints. Make sure to carefully examine your spore prints carefully, as many have confused dark chocolate brown spore prints for black ones, and this is dangerous.
You'll also want to examine the stalks of the mushrooms you picked. The most common kinds of magic mushrooms will be of the psilocybe or panaeolus genus and they bruise a very obvious blue-green, deep blue or purplish color. It doesn't take much to bruise a mushroom either, nor does it take more than a minute to color and often only a few pinches of the stems are need for this identification process. Most psychedelic mushroom hunters will throw out any mushrooms that do not bruise a cyan color, even if they could be another potential kind of psychedelic, because the bruise test is pretty reliable and it's not worth it to get it wrong. Mushrooms that don't contain psilocybin, will not bruise this way.
Make sure to take LOTS of time to figure out what mushrooms are native to the area you are hunting in. Learn about their poisonous look-a-likes, and about the laws in your area that govern hallucinogenic mushrooms. This is the only task I can't do for you. Psychedelic mushrooms are particular, and will only grow in certain places at certain times. Each kind can often only be found for a few months out of the year, and often only if the temperature is just right.
Even with that work in front of you, there are some common shrooms that you can learn about to get you started. Get to know them well, especially if there is a chance they might grow near you.
*Psilocybe Semilanceata - Liberty Caps
*P. Cubensis - The Golden Teacher
*P. Cyanescens - Wavy Caps
*P. Stuntzii - Blue Legs
*Panaeolus Cinctulus - Banded Mottlegill
Do your research. These mushrooms are all very common, but only grow in particular habitats. If you can't find their habitats, then take the time to research other magic mushrooms that fit the habitats around you.
And now.. something interesting...
PermissionGiver (author) from Lake Stevens on January 02, 2016:
Very Carefully Joseph. Most experts are not going to openly share that they know anything at all about psychedelic mushrooms, since it's illegal to possess them for anything other than research and most people want them for more than just research. On top of that, most new folks to the field, aren't aware of the proper educate for connecting with an expert or how to handle the information they are given, resulting in trouble for both the expert and the mushrooms themselves. It used to be much easier to find a mushy guide, but all it takes is a few people who are either too greedy, too ignorant or too careless, and mushroom patches start to disappear.
At this point, the best advice I could give you is to grow your own (for research purposes of course! lol) and learn through observation. Though if you're dead set on finding a mushy guide, you might try some social network groups or online forums. They take patience to navigate and make friends, but they're worth it in the end.
Joseph on December 26, 2015:
Every article I read on magic mushrooms says consult an expert. Does anyone know how to find an expert
Potatoexhumper on November 07, 2014:
Hello i found this article very helpful but alas i feel that with so many resources out there i dont know which one to follow. I live in Antrim county. Additional tips of guidance from serious magic mushroom experts or anyone who lives near by who knows what their talking about (not saying the author doesn't) could help me out that would be much appreciated
Rebekah on September 23, 2014:
Chantrelles are brightly colored, also lobster mushrooms are brightly colored and NOT poisonous, actually quite delicious. Two of the most deadliest mushrooms happen to be quite plain and unassuming. Those purple mushrooms could possibly be the shrimp russula, a tasty edible, or a poisonous mushroom. When identifying, always, always, always, consult an expert. Experts are fans of 'magic mushrooms' too.
PermissionGiver (author) from Lake Stevens on May 25, 2014:
For future readers awareness, if you don't have anything positive to add, your comment will be deleted. If you see something that I have written and you feel like it could use an update or you have different information, please feel free to POLITELY leave a comment with a link to your information, or tell us about your experiences.
As said in previous comments, insulting this hub just because you don't agree with it or because you feel there are better sources of information, is useless and it only makes you look like a troll. I'm happy to consider differing opinions and this is a great place to discuss the growing science of psychedelic mycology. It is not, however, a great place to take out your life's frustrations. There are other forums for that.
As always, thank you SO MUCH to all of you whom have left kind comments, added information for our readers or simply been nice enough not to say anything if you didn't have anything nice to say =)
Deon on January 03, 2014:
Daddy long legs can bite I believe they did it on mythbusters where as Adam placed his arm in a container of daddy long legs and was in fact bitten, but that's besides the point... Lovely article
christopher on June 21, 2013:
f.y.i the daddy longlegs actually can't bite a human. its Chelicerae (fangs) aren't able to pierce human skin
Johnyappleseed on May 23, 2013:
This was a very helpful article and the only harm in it was the rude comments about your errors. There is no error in telling people to be cautious or warning them.
PermissionGiver (author) from Lake Stevens on March 15, 2013:
Cerberus, that is interesting information. Personally, I could not see myself taking that risk, though it's nice to have additional information for those that are.
CQX, I'm unclear about what in this article makes it useless or dangerous. Is it all the warnings about accidental poisoning? Or maybe it's the part where this whole thing is "not" recommended? I've found a few grammatical mistakes, but nothing here that I wrote should bring harm to anyone who heeds the warnings and does their own part to learn about the mushrooms their hunting. I've been studying fungi for more than 10 years and I still don't even know half of what there is to know (and that's an understatement).
That being said, I welcome anyone who reads this article to add to it's value for fellow shroom hunters, by leaving something meaningful and educational as a comment. Purely insulting an article for the sake of it gets you no where quickly.
cqx on March 09, 2013:
There are so many mistakes in this article that it skips useless and goes right to DANGEROUS! DO NOT USE THESE DESCRIPTIONS.
cerberus on August 20, 2012:
wrong and wong again ,fly agaric grow around silver birch trees ,not in the open and are not poisonous if taken with caution, name was given from someone you'd burn has a witch , witch you would mix with milk to keep the flies off shiela , struth me ole mucker..
AC Pawelczyk from Michigan on July 18, 2011:
Wow! Great topic, super informative and snappy title. Keep em' coming! =)
PermissionGiver (author) from Lake Stevens on July 08, 2011:
Thank you Color Blind! Mycology is one of my favorite subjects =)
Color Blind from Florida on July 08, 2011:
very interesting and educational...