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Mushrooms, Mycology and Psychedelics >> Mushroom Hunting and Identification

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Because, ShockValue.

Registered: 11/18/08
Posts: 5,097
Loc: Tipping at windmills.
An overview of how to find Psilocybin Mushrooms. * 41
    #12412007 - 04/18/10 02:02 AM (10 years, 8 months ago)

An overview on how to find Psilocybin Mushrooms
Last updated 3/14/2020

The reason for writing this guide is that a large percentage of new mushroom hunters go about the process completely backwards.  Tromping around, picking a random mushroom, and then asking if it is a psychedelic type is a great way to learn to identify mushrooms, but is very unlikely to lead to finding psilocybin containing species.  Randomly picking a mushroom and finding a psychedelic one with no prior knowledge about it is right up there with winning the lottery.  Luckily for us, with a little research and persistence you can increase your odds to “almost certain” if you’re willing to work at it.  Now, I personally love tromping around, picking random mushrooms and trying to figure out what they are, but if your goal is to find a specific type of mushroom, these guidelines will help.

Step 1Know your location.

What state or country are you in?  Does your state’s climate vary greatly from one area to the next?  (Western vs. Eastern Washington for example.)  Now, make a list of which psilocybin mushrooms grow in your area:  MUSHROOMS BY STATE / COUNTRY

Step 2Know your mushroom.

Now that you’ve got a list of mushrooms that grow in your area, it’s time to put in a little research.  You don’t have to know everything about every mushroom that you’re interested in right now.  Instead, start with researching what season they grow in, and go from there. **Helpful research links provided below**
  • Important things to note while reading their descriptions:
  • Where do they grow?  (You think you found P.cubensis in California?  Think again.)
  • What season do they prefer? (Don’t bother looking for P.cyanescens in the middle of a dry and hot summer)
  • What do they grow on? (Conocybe smithii growing out of that tree stump?  Iiiiinteresting....)
  • How rare are they?  (Do you plan on finding a rare species that people haven’t seen in 25 years your first time out?  Go get ‘em Don Quixote!)
  • What are their general physical attributes?  Cap color and shape, length and color of stem, spore print color, color and configuration of gills, etc... 

Search Mushroom Observer and iNaturalist for the species that grow in your area to find out how common they are, what time of year they grow, habitat information and even exact locations.

Step 3: Know your excursion.

Armed with all of your new found knowledge, pick a place that you think will yield some likely results and go hunting!.  Cow fields, parks, forests - let the mushrooms be your guide.  Use caution and good judgment

Step 4Know your camera.

A blurry camera phone shot can be difficult to identify for all but the most experienced identifiers.    Time to get some good photographs of your new find!  Koraks has created a wonderful guide on how to take mushroom pictures located here: Photo Guide.  The main point being, make it in focus, get us some details.  A good picture is worth a 1000 descriptions.
  • These are things the identifiers of this board are looking for:
  • Habitat shot:  Let’s see a bit of where the mushroom was growing
  • Cap:  Color, specific details, etc.
  • Gills:  Colors, attachment, configuration.
  • Stem/base: Color, length, ring, volva, etc.

Step 5: Know your spore print. 

Spore prints can be helpful for beginners to determine the genus of their mushrooms.  Advanced identifiers don't make them, instead relying on how the gills change color as the mushrooms mature.  If you can photograph several examples, both young and old, you can skip the spore printing step and save several hours of waiting.

Step 6: Know your posting skills.

Ok, you've got some good pictures and spore print that seems to match up with what you've read about your target mushroom.  Now it's time to see if what you found really is what you think it is.    I strongly suggest that you get a positive ID from a trusted identifier on this board before you even think about putting one of those in your mouth.  To an experienced hunter, certain Psilocybes are easy to spot.  To someone who is reading this guide, the difference between a deadly mushroom and a psychoactive one can be subtle.
Section II describes how to post a good ID request: How to post a good request.
Useful instructions on how to post the pictures you took in the thread:  How to put pictures in my post.

Step 7Know this is fun.

Keep at it!  Even if you don't find anything the first few (hundred) tries.  Think of all the exercise, fresh air, and mycological knowledge you're gaining.    This guide easily translates into edible mushrooms too!  Might as well pick some of them up while you're out there.

Psilocybin containing Gymnopilus species and Panaeolus cinctulus can be found in every US state and every country in the world.  Other species only occur in certain areas.

** Helpful links for mushroom attribute research:
Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World - A practical guide with pictures and descriptions of the common species
Psilocybin mushrooms of the world
Mushroom Expert
Shroomery's Descriptions

  • When we built temples to view the stars, we knew about all 2000 of them.

Edited by Alan Rockefeller (04/14/20 03:09 PM)

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Mushrooms, Mycology and Psychedelics >> Mushroom Hunting and Identification

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