How to Tell if a Mushroom is Psychedelic?

From its characteristics to unique traits. From whether you can eat it or not. Mycologists know everything about mushrooms. In a way, they are fascinated with mushrooms, unlike anyone else.

The field of mycology revolves around the study of fungi. Mushrooms, as we all know, are fungi. It is best to believe that this field studies everything about all kinds of mushrooms. 

But, you don’t have to be a mycologist to show an appreciation for mushrooms. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to learn more about shrooms yourself. Mycologists definitely appreciate the awareness being brought by an interest in these mushrooms. 

There is at least one kind that would pique your interest in mushrooms. Besides, mushrooms are genuinely fascinating. For those who are interested in psychedelics, the psilocybin mushroom is for them. This kind of mushroom would definitely be interesting to learn a lot about. We should be aware of many things about shrooms, like how to tell them apart. There are specific characteristics we need to know. Even the little factoids do matter.

With that in mind, what would one need to know? How would one know how to identify magic mushrooms?

What are Psilocybin Mushrooms?

Psilocybin mushrooms are known for their psychedelic properties. These contain a chemical known as psilocybin. The chemical is what’s responsible for inducing a psychedelic trip when consumed. Hence, it was given the name magic mushrooms. Others would even call it shrooms.

holding dried psilocybin mushroom

These mushrooms have been around for centuries, having been used by people such as the Aztecs. The people of before consumed these magic mushrooms for spiritual and religious purposes. Back then, they believed that the mushrooms could help them connect to a higher power and nature. These were also used for knowledge. It was known that specific knowledge could only be accessed through mushrooms. These kinds of shrooms were even used for healing.

Nowadays, psilocybin-containing mushrooms are still used for these purposes. But aside from that, their uses have also gone beyond that. With science and research, magic mushrooms could also help treat mental illnesses. For example, psilocybin proved to be as effective as antidepressant medication. What’s more, studies on psilocybin are still going on. This means that there’s still so much more that we can find out and learn about its benefits. 

People also use psilocybin mushrooms for recreational reasons. Since these shrooms are psychedelics, people go on trips with their help. The elevated state of mind that a magic mushroom puts them in can help them explore their thoughts more. They’re in a more conducive state to become more reflective and meditative. A magic mushroom trip can also help a person relax and allow themselves to melt away. Even in a little while and be one with everything around them.

If that wasn’t amazing enough, these little pieces of magic could be found around you. All you need to do is learn a few things, and you’ll be able to appreciate them in their natural environment in no time!

How do I Identify Magic Mushrooms?

So, how do you tell if a mushroom is psychedelic?

If you’re raring to go looking for magic mushrooms, a word of warning. Foraging and possession of psilocybin are illegal in several states in the US. Knowing your local laws about these kinds of mushrooms would be best before you do anything. Although you don’t mean any harm by foraging, it is still best to stay safe. 

When you go foraging for magic mushrooms, you could say you’ll have your work cut out. This is because psilocybin mushrooms have very similar characteristics and traits. So, that means it’ll be hard to tell one species apart from another. But that does also mean that you’re at least assured of finding a magic mushroom. You don’t know what kind, but it’s still a start!

One drawback you should learn about is that all psilocybin mushrooms look alike. It also seems the same as poisonous mushrooms. Because of this, aspiring foragers must take extra care when picking mushrooms. Remember, before consuming shrooms, first know if it’s edible or poisonous. After all, this is a life-or-death situation.

Regardless, some characteristics still help set apart psilocybin and poisonous ones. Some traits can help separate the different species from one another. 

For example, psilocybin mushrooms have a cap that’s a golden brown color. Their stems will also have tinges of blue on them, especially when bruised. This is due to the chemical reaction that psilocybin makes when exposed to oxygen.

Listed below are some of the common types. Included in the list are its characteristics and traits. This is to help on how to tell magic mushrooms apart. 

Psilocybe Cubensis

The Psilocybe cubensis is one of the most common psychedelic mushrooms that you can find. This can be attributed to its ability to grow in considerable numbers in about any environment.

When it comes to its appearance, the Psilocybe cubensis’ colors depend on how mature they are. If you find one in its earlier stages, it’ll have a cap that’s close to the color of rust or cinnamon. As it matures, it’ll take on the signature. It will have a golden brown hue that most psilocybin mushrooms are known for.

psilocybe cubensis mushroom on the ground

Its cap’s appearance is usually conical in shape. It can also become more convex the older it gets. As for the stem, it is white but can become yellowish as it matures. As is typical with all psilocybin mushrooms, the stem will bruise blue if damaged.

Psilocybe Azurescens

Another common species of magic mushroom would be the Psilocybe azurescens. This species most likely got its name for the color of its bruises, which takes on a deep blue or azure color.

The caps of the Psilocybe azurescens usually take on a caramel color. When moist, though, it takes on a richer shade of brown such as chestnut. Also, the cap takes on a shape akin to a flying saucer, which would explain why it also took on a similar moniker. This saucer-shaped cap sits on top of a pale white stem, making it easier for the azure bruising to stand out.

Psilocybe Semilanceata

psilocybe semilanceata

It is also called “liberty caps.” This mushroom got its name from its resemblance to a lance. The caps take on the shape of a bell or a rather pointy cone. This would be one of its more prominent characteristics. As for their color, it would depend on the amount of water present. If moist, the caps take on a pale brown or darker chestnut color. If dry, the caps become a lighter shade of yellow-brown.

The stems of the Psilocybe semilanceata are long and wavy. The color can either be pale white or yellowish-brown. As with its psilocybin relatives, this mushroom bruises blue.

Psilocybe Mexicana

Judging by the name, if you guessed that these mushrooms had some relation to Mexico, you’d be right. The Psilocybe Mexicana has a history of usage in both North and Central America. These magic mushrooms have a rich history tied to them as they are primarily used for religious purposes.

If you want to spot this little historical mushroom, one thing to look out for would be its cap. The cap, taking on a color close to brown leather, has a pointy bell shape, like the lanceata. But, unlike the lanceata, its stem is not wavy or curvy. Aside from that, the stems are usually pale yellow in color.

Once again, this mushroom will bruise blue when damaged.

Psilocybe Cyanescens

The Psilocybe cyanescens are also known as “wavy caps.” The reason for this would be, of course, due to the cap being wavy in appearance. As the mushroom matures, the caps become wavier.

Brown Psilocybe Cyanescens

Another distinct feature is the gills found on the underside of the cap. The gills are thick and somewhat prominent. This can be seen as grooves on the cap, more so when water is abundant in its environment.

Both the mushroom’s cap and its gills are caramel in color. As for the stem, their color resembles that of chalk. Like other psilocybin mushrooms, this will bruise blue if it sustains any damage.

Psilocybe Baeocystis

Among the mushrooms mentioned, the Psilocybe baeocystsis has the unique color characteristic. This is because its caps are usually dark green or olive in color. This is both good and bad, as it could either stand out or blend in based on where you can find it.

The baeocystis can sometimes have hints of blue on its cap without even getting damaged. But, when it does get bruised, the blue color becomes even more prominent.

This mushroom is also known as the “bluebell,” owing to its cap’s bell-like shape. This bluebell sits atop of a white stem.

Where Can I Find Magic Mushrooms?

Psilocybin mushrooms, in general, can be found all over the world. Although, of course, some species are only native to some areas of the world. But, despite this, some species have a more widespread distribution.

The Psilocybe cubensis happens to be found all around the world. You can find it all over the North, Central, and South Americas. This mushroom is also common in Asia. This is present in countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand.

The Psilocybe azurescens can only usually be found along the western coast of the US. This is because these magic mushrooms prefer to grow in the wild. Usually calling sandy grasslands and seaside areas home.

Liberty caps can be found in Canada, the US, and select areas in Europe.

As its name may imply, the Psilocybe mexicana can be found in Mexico and its surrounding regions. That means they’re native to the Central and Southern American regions.

Another mushroom with a widespread distribution is the Psilocybe cyanescens. It can be found in America, Europe, the Middle East, and New Zealand.

The Psilocybe baeocystis can be found in the United States’ northwestern regions. This is due to its preference for rain and humidity.

Where Do Magic Mushrooms Grow?

Depending on the type of species, magic mushrooms grow in all sorts of conditions. Where you find these mushrooms are usually a sign of what conditions are ideal for their growth. Usually, a common factor between all psilocybin mushroom species would be humidity.

The Psilocybe cubensis usually thrives in humid grasslands. But, there is also another place where you can find these magic mushrooms growing. As odd as it is, this magic mushroom can also grow on the feces of grass-eating mammals such as ruminants. One common place where these mushrooms can grow is off cow patties. These are actually full of nutrients that make them favorable to grow.

Mushrooms, usually Psilocybe semilanceata, also prefer to grow in humid grassy areas. So, you can find these growing in grasslands and pastures. But, if it’s any consolation, these mushrooms don’t grow out of cow pies or the like. They usually pop out of the grass after rainy days.

Some mushrooms prefer to be in more elevated areas, like the Psilocybe mexicana, which grows in meadows and trails under a thousand feet. But, of course, these places also need to be humid for them to grow.

Mushrooms like cyanescens and baeocystis can be found in urban and landscaped areas. If there’s a lot of moisture present, chances are you can find them growing from mulch or even wood chips.


If you want to know how to tell if a mushroom is magic, you need to know what characteristics are exclusive to them. Mushrooms grow in various places around the world. Knowing where they grow can determine if they can grow where you live. Thus, you can start off by at least knowing how to tell if a mushroom is magic. Then, with more practice and studying, you can then learn how to tell them apart.

You don’t have to be a mycologist to be fascinated with mushrooms. Nothing’s stopping you from learning, after all. Be careful! There are still some risks. Examples such as accidentally picking a poisonous mushroom. It’s also good to make sure you don’t pick these if it’s illegal where you live.

With that in mind, there’s no better time than now to get started on learning about these mushrooms. All you need to do is take your first step and start reading about them. Then, the rest will follow!

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