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A friend and I are planning to go mushroom hunting this weekend and I would like to know if there are any types of magic mushrooms that grow in Northern California in the early spring? We have several places we could look; the forest, cow pastures, river banks, etc. What would be the best place to search?
Well, I don't know how far up North you are, but, we just got some rain recently. Not very much however!
Right now for any actives, you will probably be looking for Panaeolus subbalteatus. Im not sure if they have stopped for the shroom year, but, I will be checking my patch out here shortly to see how they preformed. They fruit in the best numbers during December and January.
P. subbalteatus, you will need to be looking in the horse stables, preferrably in some coastal valleys which will collect fog overnight, and have higher humidity. They will be growing directly from the dung. Try to look for the manure pile that they make with cleaning out all the stables!
I have heard that there is some Psilocybe stunzii growing around, but, I haven't found any. Look in commercial building lawns. (The really green ones!)
I of course do not pick these mushrooms. I like just to take pictures of them! I hope that is your intention as well.
As for edibles, there are a ton out there. I haven't had the time to go searching, but, if you have forests, you will be able to find some. I believe the springtime amanita is fruiting, but, that one is pretty hard to ID. Look for some chantrelles under oak and madrone... They are bright orange with veiny gills on the underside. I think they are much more rewarding than any active mushrooms you will find this type of year!