How to Find Magic Mushrooms in the Wild

Magic mushroom foraging

Whether you want to find magic mushrooms for microdosing or for full-blown trips, one of the most convenient ways to do it is to pick them yourself!

Wild magic mushrooms can be found all around the world. If you live in a warm, humid environment, chances are you may be able to pick magic mushrooms in your immediate surroundings.

Disclaimer: Although magic mushrooms abundantly grow in nature, their recreational consumption is still illegal in most of the world. We do not encourage our readers to engage in illegal activities; this guide should be used only for harm reduction purposes by those who already have their hearts set on finding magic mushrooms in the wild.

Step 1: Figure Out Where to Find Magic Mushrooms in Your Area

Some of the hotspots and seasons for picking magic mushrooms include:

  • Cattle pastures, decomposing grass, and rotting wood during humid summer days, ideally right after a few days of rainfall;
  • Grass fields and forest edges during cool, humid autumn days;
  • Temperate and tropical cloud forests, much of the time.

If you have places like those in your immediate area, they would be a good place to start. Magic mushrooms don’t normally grow in arid or semi-arid environments.

Below is a more specific overview of where to find magic mushrooms in different countries around the world and what species to expect.

USA 

There are four distinct regions with ideal growing environments for magic mushrooms:

1. The subtropical forests along the Gulf Coast and throughout the Southeast (especially in Florida, but also in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Mississippi).

  • When? Year-round.
  • Most common species: Psilocybe cubensis and Panaeolus cyanescens.

2. The forests throughout the Pacific Northwest (mostly in Northern California, Oregon, and Washington).

  • When? During fall months.
  • Most common species: Psilocybe cyanescens, Psilocybe semilanceata, Psilocybe azurescens, and Psilocybe baeocystis.

3. The forests of the Northeast (particularly in upstate New York, but also in Michigan and throughout New England).

  • When? During warmer months.
  • Most common species: Gymnopilus spectabilis, Panaeolus subbalteatus, and Psilocybe semilanceata (more rare);

4. The tropical forests and cattle pastures of Hawaii are home to some of the most beloved magic mushroom strains in the world.

  • When? Year-round, but especially during cooler months.
  • Most common speciesPanaeolus cyanescens and Psilocybe cubensis.
Find magic mushrooms in humid forest environments
Humid forests make for some of the best environments to find magic mushrooms

Canada

The most fertile lands for finding magic mushrooms are the forests of British Columbia, just north of the border with Washington state.

  • When? During spring and fall.
  • Most common species: Psilocybe baeocystis, Psilocybe cyanescens, and Psilocybe semilanceata.

Europe

Magic mushrooms can be found in forests of almost all countries with a temperate climate, especially throughout Central Europe and all over France.

  • When? During fall, or summer for northern regions.
  • Most common species: Psilocybe semilanceata.

Mexico 

The southern half of Mexico is brimming with magic mushrooms. They can be found in abundance throughout cloud forests of the Sierra Norte de Oaxaca, especially around the towns of Ixtlán de Juárez and Huautla de Jiménez, as well as in Sierra Madre del Sur closer to the Oaxacan coastal resort towns of Huatulco and Puerto Escondido.

  • When? From May through the early fall.
  • Most common species: You can find pretty much all of the potent magic mushroom species known to the world, such as Panaeolus cyanescens, Psilocybe caerulescens, Psilocybe cubensis, Psilocybe hoogshagenii, Psilocybe mexicana, Psilocybe zapotecorum, and many, many more.

Puerto Rico, British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Belize, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Samoa, Panama

These Central American and Caribbean nations are rife with psychedelic fungi. You can find magic mushrooms growing in cattle pastures, grass fields, out of mulch and decomposing wood and grass.

  • When? After a few days of rainfall.
  • Most common species:  All sorts of Gymnopilus, Panaeolus, and Psilocybe.

Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil

Magic mushrooms can be found in all South American countries, but are especially abundant in these three. They grow in cattle pastures, rainforests, and cloud forests.

  • When? Year-round, depending on humidity, altitude, and climate of the region.
  • Most common species: All sorts of Panaeolus and Psilocybe.

Australia, New Zealand

The southeastern part of Australia, especially New South Wales and Victoria, are home to numerous species of magic mushrooms. New Zealand is even more abundant. They grow in pine forests, on grasslands, and in cattle pastures.

  • When? During fall months.
  • Most common species: Psilocybe subaeruginosa, Psilocybe cubensis, Panaeolus cyanescens, and Psilocybe semilanceata.
Where to find magic mushrooms Psilocybe spp. around the world
Global distribution of psychoactive species of the Psilocybe mushroom genus mushrooms – Wikimedia Commons.

In some countries, magic mushrooms are legal or decriminalized, and can be bought from vendors legally. Check out our article on Where You Can (Legally) Buy Magic Mushrooms for more details.

Step 2: Figure Out Which Magic Mushrooms Grow in Your Area

Although there are certain areas which are extremely abundant with magic mushrooms, it’s refreshing to know that numerous species truly grow all over the world, as long as it’s not too dry or too cold for them.

Shroomery.org keeps an extensive list of magic mushroom species to be found in each state in the US and most countries worldwide. You can refer to it to get an idea of all the wild magic mushroom species that grow around you.

Remember that not all species are equally potent, and the less recognizable ones are usually obscure for a reason; however, there are exceptions to this rule.

Step 3: Figure out How to Identify Magic Mushroom Species

While foraging for magic mushrooms can be a beautiful, fun, and convenient adventure provided you live in an area where they grow in abundance, keep in mind that it can also be disappointing or, worse, dangerous.

Some magic mushroom species look quite distinct, while many appear indistinguishable from similar species to the untrained eye. Most mushroom species are not psychoactive, and some can be toxic—this is why it’s extremely important to be familiar with their discerning features.

Before heading out hunting for wild magic mushrooms, carefully study the images of the mushrooms which are growing around you. Some features you need to pay attention to are: the cap color and shape, the length and color of the stem, the spore print color, and the color and configuration of gills.

Legendary mycologist Paul Stamets, author of the iconic shroompedia, Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World, outlined that mushrooms found in the wild are likely to contain psilocybin if they satisfy all three of these criteria:

  • Have gills
  • Leave purplish brown to black spore prints
  • Bruise bluish
Blue bruising on a freshly picked Psilocybe spp.
Blue bruising on a freshly picked Psilocybe spp. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Additionally, most, if not all wild magic mushrooms should have a semi-gelatinous separable pellicle (membrane) covering their cap.

Here are some of the most common, sufficiently potent psychoactive mushrooms you can find in the wild:

  • Psilocybe cubensis, or the all-time favorite “Golden Teacher”
  • Psilocybe cyanescens, known appropriately as “Wavy Caps”
  • Psilocybe semilanceata, better known as “Liberty Caps”
  • Psilocybe caerulescens, or “Landslide Mushrooms”
  • Psilocybe azurescens, or the well-known “Flying Saucer Mushroom”
  • Psilocybe mexicana, also known by their ancient name “Teonanácatl” or the more recent one, “Pajaritos”
  • Psilocybe baeocystis, popular as “Knobby Tops”
  • Panaeolus cyanescens, or the famous “Blue Meanies”
  • Panaeolus subbalteatus, known as “Subs”
  • Gymnopilus spectabilis, or “Gyms”
  • Inocybe corydalina, or the “Greenflush Fibrecaps”

Special mention: Amanita muscaria, better known as Fly agaric; this species doesn’t contain psilocybin, but its compounds are known to produce hallucinogenic effects.

As you can see, in many cases the mushroom species’ popular names are indicative of their distinguishing features. “Wavy caps,” “Knobby Tops,” and “Flying Saucer Mushrooms,” for example, are quite easy to remember visually; this is why you should try to associate these nicknames to their corresponding species if you plan on picking magic mushrooms.

Read our Guide on Identifying Psilocybin Mushrooms to learn how to identify some of the most common wild magic mushroom species.

We advise focusing only on the Psilocybe and Panaeolus species if you’re a beginner in picking magic mushrooms. The psychoactive Gymnopilus and Inocybe species are difficult to distinguish from their relatives, some of which may be poisonous. Amanita muscaria, on the other hand, is unique and easy to spot, but can be dangerous if not consumed properly.

Amanita muscaria
The beautiful, but potentially dangerous Amanita muscaria

Step 4: Figure out When to Find Magic Mushrooms in Your Area

Once you’ve learned which psychedelic fungi to go after and how to recognize them in the wild, you’re going to want to know exactly when they can be found.

The rundown we provided in Step 1 should give you an idea of the season or seasons you can expect magic mushrooms in your area, but in order to know more specific details, we recommend joining and doing additional research on the Shroomery.org forums.

If you search the forum for threads on your approximate location, state, or country, you’re bound to find accurate seasonal information. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, feel free to reach out to the excellent magic mushroom foraging community in these forums with a specific inquiry.

Aside from the Shroomery forums, you can use the following tools:

These pages contain images and timestamps of harvested fungi submitted by mushroom hunters worldwide. If you search by location, you can see exactly when the last wild magic mushrooms were seen in your area.

Step 5: Make Sure You’ve Harvested the Right Stuff

Shroomery.org forums can also be extremely useful in helping identify your foraging bounty. Simply upload the photos if you’re not completely sure what you’ve got and the community will rally to offer its taxonomy.

Make Spore Prints for Absolute Certainty

At times, photos can be insufficient for 100% identification, or it may seem like you have found a species of mushroom not common for the area you foraged in. If you want to make absolutely certain the wild mushrooms you picked are indeed psychoactive, you can make a spore print and upload it to Shroomery.

A spore print of a Conocybe rickenii
A spore print of a Conocybe rickenii. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Spore prints are easy to make. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Remove the mushroom cap and place it on a piece of paper, foil, or glass.
  2. Put a drop of water on the top of the cap to create the moisture needed for the spores to start being released.
  3. Cover the cap with a glass and leave for up to 24 hours. If the mushroom is very fresh, this step should take only a few hours.
  4. The spores will fall on the paper, foil, or glass, creating the spore print.

The three recommended tools from Step 4 should also be very helpful in identifying your bounty. Plus, using them will contribute to the global pool of mycology knowledge.

Be Careful and Enjoy the Hunt

Mushroom hunting is a great way to reconnect with nature and get out of the busy city life, and just a fun activity to try out on your free days, when the conditions are right.

This applies not just to picking magic mushrooms—even if you don’t find what you’ve set out for, odds are you will be able to prepare some delicious edible fungi for dinner.

However, as we’ve already mentioned, please exercise utmost caution when going wild mushroom hunting—many species are toxic, some can even be lethal—and to an untrained eye, the differences may not be so apparent.

Feel free to use the recommended resources for identifying wild mushroom species in your area, and only consume what you’re absolutely sure will not harm you.

Finally, if foraging adventures sound risky or require a bit too much effort for you, you can always consider growing your own shrooms! Our friends at DoubleBlind have put together an amazing course on mushroom growing and you are entitled to a 20% discount if you use the code “ENTHEO” at checkout.

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About Xavier Francuski

Born in India, grew up in Serbia, lived and traveled throughout the world, Xavier's uprooted existence fuels his instinct for exploration. With a masters degree in research psychology, he is a passionate educator on the topic of psychedelics, trying to reconcile the astounding nature of the realms beyond with what sense we can make of them in this one. Currently living in Southeast Asia and working as a staff writer for several major psychedelic websites.

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