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Magic Mushroom Field Guide

A complete, illustrated guide to picking magic mushrooms. This is a must-read if you've decided to go shroom hunting!



WARNING: Unless you are well versed in the identificationof mushrooms, do not try to identify any species of mushroom fromthe included pictures without the text descriptions below. And even then bevery cautious. Most species of Psilocybe are considered to beLBM's (little brown mushrooms) and have thousands of look-alikes (to thebeginner). Eat one wrong mushroom and, up to 2 weeks latersymptoms develop, and the only chance of saving your life is a liver- orkidney-transplant. A mushroom should never be eaten unless you are100% sure in its identification. Even experienced mushroom gatherers havemade errors. Do not take this warning lightly.

Your best method to learn how to identify any species is to get to knowsomeone that does know that species and learn from them. Text and picturesare poor substitute to the experience of an individual that knows whatthey are doing. An experienced mushro om gatherer will know the subtletiesin that species that will help him to reject a look-alike from the target'shroom. Sometimes it can be just a slight difference in color/tint orminor texture change, or the plants that are growing around a mushroom thatwill let the experienced 'shroomer know which one is safe and which oneis not. If at all possible, you should also have a high-powered microscopeavailable when trying to identify a species you've never gathered before.Along with spore-prints, you should look at and measure the actual sporeshape and size. If you are not familiar with making spore-prints, get agood book on mushrooms that explain the procedure, and always make a printon a half black and half white surface to help insure your estimation toa specific shade mentioned. Pay attention to the text below and you willalso notice that some Psilocybe species do not bruise blue. Onfurther mushroom studies you will find that some deadly species from othergenera do bruise blue. Just because a mushroom bruises blue doesnot mean it is safe. Nor that it is hallucinogenic. THEREIS NO ONE SAFE TEST FOR ANY MUSHROOM!

This compilation of scanned photos and text are not meant to be a totalreference in the identification of these 'shrooms. Some taxonomicdescriptions can be confusing and other books should be used to clarifythe difference between things like "adnate" and "adnexed", or "pendant"and "flaring" when describing the various parts of mushrooms. As anexample, when gills are "attached" this does not simply mean it has gills,it refers to the way they are growing from the stalk. I've neither thetime nor energy to type a complete glossary and draw diagrams. If youwant to gather your own 'shrooms, and prevent your own death from amistake, I suggest you get more information than is contained in thiscollection. And who knows, I may have made a typing mistake here, I'dhate to think someone died because I accidently typed "attached" where Ishould have typed "unattached". I'll do my best to prevent that but thereare no guarantees. Also, there are differences between colormonitors when displaying pictures. Sin ce so much depends on slight colorvariations when identifying 'shrooms, I've done all I can to insure thesephotos appeared on my monitor as they appeared in the original photos, thesame may not be true on your end. My monitor is supposed to be upto industry standards. I've no way of checking that to be 100% sure though.

Below are the descriptions of the photos contained in this collection.Please refer to the name on the photo to the proper text. (Also note thatthe inch measurements on the photos are for the cap-width.) Please don'tdistribute the accompanying photos without including this text file. Youneed both, and maybe even more, to identify these species. A kid withphoto in hand might think that is all he needs to identify a 'shroom andhave a "trip". Please be responsible with this packet of information.

Notes from the ascii translator: Due to this text being typed in plainascii, some changes were made from the original text: the word "microns" isused instead of the greek letter representation; and other liberties weretaken in the paragraph formats, etc.I've also taken the liberty to addsome (Editor's Notes) at the end of some entries.
When in doubt -- do not eat it. When all doubt has been removed --check again.

There are two kinds of mushroom hunters -- smart ones, and dead ones. Evensome of the smart ones are dead now.


Potent Psilocybe
Psilocybe baeocystis Sing. & A.H.S
Strophariaceae, Agaricales


DescriptionSticky, conical, brown cap with brownish gills and off-white stalk;bruising blue.
Cap5/8" - 2 1/4" (1.5-5.5 cm) wide; conical with incurved margin,expanding to convex or flat; sticky, olive- to buff-brown, bruisingand aging greenish about margin.
Gillsattached, close, broad; grayish, becoming dark purplish-gray.
Stalk2" - 2 3/4" (5-7 cm) long, 1/16" - 1/8" (1.5-3 mm) thick; whitish,covered with small, whitish fibers.
Veilpartial veil evanescent.
Spores10-13 X 6.3-7 microns; elliptical, smooth, with pore at tip. Sporeprint dark purplish.
EdibilityHallucinogenic.
SeasonSeptember-November
HabitatScattered to numerous, in wood chips, on decayed wood, and decayingmoss.
RangePacific NW.
Look-alikesP. strictipes has long, brittle, straight stalk. Thehallucinogenic Psilocybe cyanescens has broad, wavy, knobbed cap.
CommentsThis species is a potent hallucinogen that contains several activecompounds. Its side effects are not well known.
Images25k, 23k, 25k, 47k, 43k, 120k, 19k

Blue-Foot Psilocybe
Psilocybe caerulipes (Pk.) Sacc.
Strophariaceae, Agaricales

DescriptionBrownish, knobbed cap, fading to yellow, with brown gills; whitishstalk bluish at base; on decayed wood.
Cap3/8" - 1 3/8" (1-3.5 cm) wide; conical to convex with incurved margin,becoming flat or broadly knobbed; sticky, becoming dry, smooth;watery-cinnamon to yellowish; bruising greenish or bluish, sometimesslowly.
Gillsattached, close to crowded, narrow; brownish to rust-cinnamon.
Stalk1 1/4" - 2 3/8" (3-6 cm) long, 1/16" - 1/8" (1.5-3 mm) thick,enlarging to base; whitish, staining greenish-blue.
Veilpartial veil evanescent.
Spores7-10 X 4-5.5 microns, (but 10-12 X 5.7 microns from 2-spored basidia);elliptical, smooth, with pore at tip. Spore print darkpurple-brown.
EdibilityHallucinogenic.
SeasonAugust-October.
HabitatSingle or in small clusters, on deciduous wood and wood mulch,especially birch and maple.
RangeMaine to North Carolina, west to Michigan.
CommentsOften overlooked or ignored as just another LBM, little brownmushroom, this hallucinogenic species turns blue on handling, usuallyafter several minutes.
Images91k

Common Large Psilocybe
Psilocybe cubensis (Ear.) Sing.
Strophariaceae, Agaricales


DescriptionLarge, fleshy, yellowish cap with brown gills and a persistent ring onstalk; bruising blue; on cow manure.
Cap5/8" - 3 1/2" (1.5-9 cm) wide; conical or bell-shaped, becoming convexto flat with central knob; sticky, hairless; white withbrownish-yellow center, becoming entirely brownish-yellow, bruisingand aging bluish.
Gillsattached, close, narrow; gray, becoming deep violet-gray, then black;edges whitish.
Stalk1 3/8" - 6" (3.5-15 cm) long, 1/8" - 5/8" (0.3-1.5 cm) thick, becomingenlarged below; smooth, grooved at top; white, bruising blue.
Veilpartial veil membranous; leaving persistent white ring (soon blackishfrom falling spores) on upper stalk.
Spores11.5-17 X 8-11.5 microns; oval to elliptical, smooth, thick-walled,blunt, with distinct pore at tip. Spore print purple-brown.
EdibilityHallucinogenic.
SeasonNearly year-round.
HabitatOn cow and horse dung in pastures.
RangeGulf Coast.
CommentsThis is an abundant member of the Gulf Coast pastureland flora.
Images120k, 18k, 8k

Bluing Psilocybe
Psilocybe cyanescens Wkfld.
Strophariaceae, Agaricales


DesciptionTacky, wavy, brown cap, fading to yellowish, with brownish gills andwhitish stalk; bruising blue.
Cap3/4" - 1 5/8" (2-4 cm) wide; convex, becoming nearly flat withundulating or wavy margin; sticky to moist, smooth; darkchestnut-brown, fading to yellowish, bruising blue.
Gillsattached, nearly distant, broad; cinnamon-brown, becoming darker.
Stalk2 3/8" - 3 1/4" (6-8 cm) long, 1/8" - 1/4" (3-5 mm) thick, sometimesenlarged at base; curved, whitish, bruising blue.
Veilpartial veil white, evanescent.
Spores9-12 X 5.5-8.3 microns; elliptical, smooth, with pore at tip. Sporeprint purple-brown.
EdibilityHallucinogenic.
SeasonSeptember-November.
HabitatSeveral to many, in coniferous mulch.
RangeBritish Columbia to San Francisco.
Look-alikesThe hallucinogenic P. baeocystis and P. strictipes lackwavy margin.
CommentsWhen ingested in large quantity, this can be stronglyhallucinogenic.
Images23k, 8k, 17k, 37k, 21k, 180k, 15k, 101k

Conifer Psilocybe
Psilocybe pelliculosa (A.H.S.) Sing. & A.H.S.
Strophariaceae, Agaricales


DescriptionSticky, dark brown, conical cap with brown gills and off-white, hairystalk.
Cap1/4" - 3/4" (0.5-2 cm) wide; conical to bell-shaped; sticky, smooth;dark brown, fading to tan, bruising blue.
Gillsattached, close, narrow; cinnamon-brown, then darkening.
Stalk2 3/8" - 3 1/4" (6-8 cm) long, 1/16" (1.5 mm) thick; whitish,darkening; covered with small, grayish fibers.
Veilpartial veil evanescent.
Spores9.3-11 X 5.5 microns; elliptical, smooth, with pore at tip.Spore print purple-brown.
EdibilityHallucinogenic.
SeasonSeptember-November.
HabitatSeveral to many, separately or in clusters, on conifer mulch inwoods.
RangeBritish Columbia to N. California.
Look-alikesThe hallucinogenic P. semilanceata found in manured grass, hassmooth stalk. P. silvatica has smaller spores.
CommentsThis species, often confused with the Liberty Cap (P.semilanceata), lacks its narrowly conical cap and is only weaklyhallucinogenic.
Images19k, 147k, 15k, 9k, 14k, 16k

Liberty CapPsilocybe semilanceata (Fr. ex Secr.) Kum.
Strophariaceae, Agaricales


DescriptionSlimy, narrowly conical, brown to tan cap with brownish gills andsmooth, off-white stalk; in pastures and manured areas.
Cap3/8" - 1" (1-2.5 cm) wide; sharply conical, often peaked, and notexpanding; sticky, smooth; brownish, fading to tan, bruising blue onmargin.
Gillsattached, close, broad; grayish, becoming dark brown.
Stalk2" - 4" (5-10 cm) high, 1/16" (1.5 mm) thick; very thin, whitish.
Veilpartial veil evanescent.
Spores11-14 X 7-8 microns; elliptical, smooth, with pore at tip. Spore printpurple-brown.
EdibilityHallucinogenic.
SeasonLate August-November.
HabitatScattered to numerous, in tall grass and grassy hummocks in cowpastures.
RangeWidely distributed; common in Pacific NW.; also reported inQuebec.
Look-alikesThe hallucinogenic P. pelliculosa and P. silvatica growin wood chips or mulch, and have conical caps.
CommentsThis species is one of the most familiar of the Oregon coast.
Images25k, 169k, 27k, 49k, 17k, 13k, 18k

Stuntz's Blue Legs
Psilocybe stuntzii Guzman and Ott
Strophariaceae, Agaricales


DescriptionSticky, brownish cap with brownish gills and brownish, ringed stalk;bruising blue.
Cap5/8" - 1 5/8" (1.5-4 cm) wide; conical, expanding to broadly convexwith central knob, or nearly flat; becoming somewhat wavy anduplifted; sticky to moist, smooth; dark to yellow-brown, oftengreen-tinged on margin.
Gillsattached, close to almost distant, broad; off-white, becomingbrownish.
Stalk1 1/4" - 2 3/8" (3-6 cm) long, 1/8" (3 mm) thick, sometimes enlargedat base; yellowish, smooth to fibrous.
Veilpartial veil leaves fragile ring that becomes bluish zone on upperstalk.
Spores8-12.5 X 6-8 microns; elliptical, smooth, with pore at tip. Sporeprint purple-brown.
EdibilityHallucinogenic.
SeasonSeptember-December
HabitatSeveral to clustered, in coniferous wood-chip mulch; reported onlawns.
RangePacific NW.
Look-alikesThe deadly Galerina autumnalis has tawny cap fading to yellow,brown gills, and rust-brown spore print. Stropharia species donot bruise blue.
CommentsAlso known as the "Washington Blue Veil". Like some other blue legs,this does not blue conspicuously. To avoid confusing it with theDeadly Galerina (Galerina autumnalis), be sure to take a sporeprint.
Images19k, 126k, 119k, 20k, 22k, 17k
editor's noteThe spores for the Deadly Galerina are 8.5-10.5 X 5-6.5 microns;elliptical, roughened, with smooth depression.

If you die from eating a mushroom of questionable qualities, all I can sayis, "Thanks for providing us with the new information!" The data from yourautopsy will save the rest of us from making the same mistake. Harsh buttrue. In other words (again) -- be careful! Nobody will assume anyresponsibility for your death or illness if you make a mistake with'shrooms. Not even if you are only gathering 'shrooms for dinner, letalone 'shrooms for a "trip." You are on your own on this one.

All that aside -- I wish the best for you in your adventures in 'shrooming. I hope this collective of words and pics will open up a new "Virtual Reality" for you -- commonly known as the "Real Reality". Maybe this will get some of you away from your monitors and out into the woods and fields on occasion. There's lots of "stuff" out there! (And most of it isn't delivered to you in data-packets and doesn't even need batteries or an A.C. outlet, nor a credit card number. Yep, believe it or not -- it's true, honest!)

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