The Easy Guide On How To Identify Psilocybin Mushrooms

What are Psilocybin Mushrooms?


Before we go into details about identifying mushrooms, what exactly are psilocybin mushrooms? Psilocybin mushrooms are the most popular “magic mushrooms,” which means that they are mushrooms with psychoactive properties. They are considered sacred medicine among indigenous tribes, having been used extensively in the past in religious and spiritual ceremonies, especially in Central and South America.

Although currently they are classified as a Schedule 1 drug in the United States (and many other countries), recent research into their therapeutic potential seems very promising. Some studies have shown that consuming psilocybin mushrooms can have a beneficial effect for individuals suffering from various psychiatric disorders, from anxiety to OCD and depression.

One study from Johns Hopkins University showed that most of the participants rated this as one of the most significant spiritual experiences of their lives. It also proved that ingesting psilocybin mushrooms creates long-lasting positive personality changes in the users.

Here are a few important pointers on how to differentiate between psilocybin mushrooms. Make sure you extensively study pictures of these mushrooms and notice the differences between them.

How To Safely Identify Psilocybin Mushrooms

Have you ever heard of people ending up in the ER due to mushroom poisoning?

These frequent accidents occur due to the fact that people think they “know” which mushrooms are safe to eat and which are not. Reality shows us that many of them are wrong.

Things get even more complicated when it comes to psilocybin mushrooms due to the fact that the psychological profile of the persons willing to try this type of mushrooms includes a higher tolerance for risk.

That is why it is crucial to invest a lot of time in getting to know the specific characteristics of psilocybin mushrooms before you head out to pick them up and eat them. This can make the difference between having a pleasant spiritual experience of ending up in the ER with serious poisoning.

Types of Psilocybin Mushroom

Differentiating between species of magic mushrooms is not that hard. You have to know a little bit about their shapes, types of caps, and sizes. 

Here are a few important pointers on how to differentiate between psilocybin mushrooms. Make sure you extensively study pictures of these mushrooms and notice the differences between them.

Psilocybe semilanceata


These mushrooms are also known as “Liberty Caps” due to their large caps. They are known to be among the most potent psilocybin mushrooms. They also grow frequently in North America and throughout Europe.

These mushrooms usually grow in meadows and pastures, often in those grazed by sheep. However, unlike psilocybe cubensis, psilocybe semilanceata do not grow directly out of dung.

Psilocybe mexicana


These mushrooms grow especially in Central and South America, where they have been used ceremonially for millennia. They are also called “teonanacatl”. Similar in aspect to psilocybe semilanceata, it is hard to distinguish them from the latter.

Psilocybe cyanescens


This specific type of psilocybin mushrooms are also known as “Wavy Caps”.

According to Jacob Akin from the University of Wisconsin, there seems to be evidence of this type of mushrooms at the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. Research is showing that these mushrooms were used by the ancient Egyptians for their psychoactive properties during religious ceremonies.

These mushrooms are also found in many areas throughout the world and are known to be quite potent when it comes to their psychedelic effects.

Psilocybe azurescens


This type of mushroom is also known as the “Flying Saucer Mushroom”. It is also known as the most potent psychoactive psilocybin mushrooms due to the fact that it has the highest concentration of the psychoactive biochemicals, psilocybin and psilocin.

It often grows along the northern Oregon Coast, favoring the beachland interface. Psilocybe azurescens prefers to grow in dune grasses. It also causes the whitening of wood. Fruitings begin in late September and continue even after the first frost occurs, until late December or even January. It is a very adaptive species.

Psilocybe baeocystis


This type of mushroom is also known as “Knobby Tops”. It is usually found on decaying conifer mulch, in wood chips, or in lawns with high lignin content.

It can also occasionally grow from fallen seed cones of Douglas fir.

You can normally find these mushrooms in fall, even ranging to early winter but rarely in the spring.

Psilocybe cubensis


This is the most popular species of psilocybin mushrooms, also known as “Golden Teacher”.

You may find it throughout southeastern United States, Central America and northern South America. It also grows throughout southeast Asia, in countries such as Thailand, India, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Normally, these mushrooms grow at their maximum size in the two months prior to the hottest period in the year. In the United States, this means you can find them in May and June most frequently, although they can also be found up until January.

Where Do Psilocybin Mushrooms Grow in the US?

Psilocybe semilanceata, one of the widespread species of psilocybin mushroom, can be found in the Pacific Northwest. Over the years, there has been evidence indicating that it can also be found in the eastern United States. 

There are thought to be around 22 species of Psilocybe in the United States, generally dark-spored, gilled mushrooms growing in meadows and woods, in soils rich in humus and plant debris. Temperate parts of North America are likely to be favorable for P. semilanceata, the liberty cap, where it is most common west of the Cascade Mountains, abundant in autumn and early winter, though sometimes reported to be seen during spring.

More recently, famous mycologists such as Paul Stamets have highlighted the human role in the spread and occurrence of magic mushrooms. In his famous work, “Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World,” he writes:

“Ironically, each one of those pickers — knowingly or not — became agents for dispersing spores into more and more habitats. To this day, the grounds around the county courthouse and sheriff's department remain one of my favorite places to find Psilocybe cyanescens and Psilocybe stuntzii. Other favored sites include college campuses, utility substations, hospitals, office complexes, and ornamental gardens.”

Exercise Great Caution When Dealing With Psilocybin Mushrooms

Please exercise maximum caution when it comes to cultivating or growing psilocybin mushrooms. There is a very real risk of poisoning and even death. It is best to spend as much time as possible in studying extensively the characteristics of these magic mushrooms if you are serious about identifying and consuming them.

A great book on the subject is Paul Stamets’ reference book on identifying psilocybin mushrooms around various parts of the world.

Make sure you also identify the visual differences between the mushrooms and become quite proficient at it before ingesting any type of psilocybin mushrooms.

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  1.' Cale on September 24, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    Thanks for this article explaining the effects, geography ,and excellent identification references. You may have saved lives.

  2.' malkum gibson on November 25, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    is there any place that you can send photos of mushrooms to hep identify them? I live in ecuador and they grow every where here. I am just not sure and from the photos that are posted they really look right and where found in the highland in a pasture growing in cow pattys. gracias!

    •' Matthew Koller on June 30, 2020 at 12:35 pm

      I would like to know the same thing? I have 2 types that are totally different from one another. One real tiny with a “nipple” on top and a very large one growing out of wood mulch and pine tree piles. It’s very large with very dark underside gills.

      •' Matthew on September 7, 2020 at 7:24 pm

        The one with a nipple on top that you’re talking about is called a UFO cap, ET cap or alien cap or even Martian cap. If it’s rounded kind of like a flying saucer with a nipple at the top… Those are amazing mushrooms. Don’t eat too many though because you will trip your balls off. If you’re used to tripping, eat all you want… But if it’s your first time, I wouldn’t eat no more than two caps. My favorite way to ingest them is to cut them up and really small pieces… I mean really small… Then put coffee grounds in your coffee pot, put the mushrooms in the coffee grounds and Brew about a 6-cup pot of coffee. Not too much because you’ll dilute it. I make the six-part cup of coffee with the shrooms and then after it Brews, pour it back into the coffee pot and Brew it again… I do that three times to ensure all of the psilocybin is released. You can drink it slowly or you can drink it all at one time… Whatever you want to do. Afterwards get in, hang on, sit down and shut up LOL

        •' Jadyn on September 14, 2020 at 4:55 pm

          I found 2 mushrooms that are brown with a nipple in my yard and Idk if there poisonous

          •' Canadian Psychonaut on November 6, 2020 at 2:12 pm

            There are free apps for making identification much easier and safer. I recommend u download one to try out and find the one u like. Some work by taking a photo and others will just show pictures but either way the will show u what ones u should and shouldn’t ingest. Good luck and be safe!

          •' Timothy Driscoll on September 13, 2021 at 6:17 pm

            LBM Gallerina is most common lawn mushroom AND IS DEADLY!
            Takes out your liver, most magic mushrooms bruise blue and have dark purple spore print..
            Gallerina cause lots of accidental sickness and death because people mistake them for blue ringers.
            blessings and Aloha

        •' Mr.Hippie on September 15, 2020 at 12:09 am

          I’m going out into the forest to find some shrooms. Haven’t done enough research but just wanna see what I kind find. Any advise or certain details about what the safe mushrooms have. Any markings or certain details about them?

          •' Tony on October 8, 2020 at 5:29 pm

            I’ve been looking around the yard.
            There are literally 300 different types in my yard.

          •' Mystic in search on November 14, 2020 at 9:11 am

            Hey man I live in Kenya and have these very cool looking mushrooms growing in elephant dung
            They are golden brown with like whitish spots on the top and maybe a slight ring sleeve right under the cap….any good?

          •' Ma on November 20, 2020 at 12:35 am

            There are old mushroom hunters and there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old bold mushrooms hunters. Try to find someone who knows what they’re doing to take you if you’ve never been. Lots of areas have clubs and groups.

          •' Henry r Russo on March 8, 2021 at 2:42 pm

            Do your research;some also have a purple ring on the shaft you have to find cow pasture early in a.m.,don’t get caught for trespassing boil them with tea bags and make just like ice tea,if you never done before start small takes bout 30-45 mins to start to work if you have never tripped be prepared for a fun experienceand laughing your butt off wish I was that young again had plenty good times when was in high school 72-76.

        •' Scott Stewart on July 28, 2021 at 8:53 pm

          Heat kills psyicibian..!

          • Patrick Smith on August 2, 2021 at 12:09 pm

            Brewing psilocybin mushrooms into tea, or dehydrating them at typical commercial dehydrator temperatures, does not destroy psilocybin or psilocin. They need much higher temperatures to break down.

        •' Don Scruggs on August 12, 2021 at 9:46 pm

          Matthew… can I contact you?

      •' green myrtle on September 19, 2020 at 7:10 pm

        @matthew & @malkum – DO NOT use the comment you got which claims to ID without you providing any photos. Oregon and the PNW has a zillion LBMs (little brown mushrooms). It is entirely INADEQUATE to ID based on any single charactaristic, location etc. There are some excellent mushroom ID sites on facebood where you can upload photos. Do not ask “are these psilocybs” … the sites are very safety & legality conscious. Ask if they are the latin or common name of the species you think they are. eg: Are these Liberty Caps?

        @Matthew I’m fairly conversant with edibles, but your description of the mushrooms in your woodpile would not give me anywhere near enough info to tell you if it was edible or deadly. I’m sure its the same with psyllocibes.

        •' Tom on October 10, 2020 at 2:24 pm

          This is really good advice. Never eat a mushroom that you are not 100% sure has been ID’d, it can be deadly.

 is a great site for ID’s and fairly Psilocybe-friendly.

      •' Madison on November 9, 2020 at 6:58 pm

        Reddit! there are a tone of subreddits to post pics on to help identify

    •' Mac on July 14, 2020 at 11:36 am

      Go to, it’s a forum full of trusted identifiers that will help you.

    •' Joshua on October 24, 2020 at 1:45 pm

      Nope, no computer can tell you. I’ve grown my own and tried and every program I find tells me they will kill you and speaks nothing about being a psychedelic.

    •' James on January 3, 2021 at 3:41 pm

      Yes, there is a subreddit for it

    •' HellNo on April 24, 2021 at 5:17 am

      You can on the reddit pages.

    •' Mya on May 10, 2021 at 5:20 pm

      An app on Google play called “picture this” identifies plants

    •' Micheal Hall on July 27, 2021 at 4:22 pm

      Picture this is a plant app that you snap a picture with it and it qill tell u exactly what plant you are lookin at

  3.' Shirl on October 1, 2019 at 9:00 am

    I’m told that if u squeeze the stem under the cap and if it turns blue it’s good to go…true? Best way for identifying between poisonous ones

    •' Pox on November 10, 2021 at 2:05 pm


  4.' John on October 7, 2019 at 5:25 am

    I have found this page very helpful but is there any specific signs on magic mushrooms that separate it from any other mushrooms cause i know liberty caps have to be brown underneath is it the same for most?

  5.' CATHERINE Oliver on November 19, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    Great article! Well written.

    •' christopher cornett on July 10, 2020 at 6:17 am

      Good piece of work and content was meaningful

  6.' Brittany on November 23, 2019 at 6:47 pm


    What is the strain of dried mushroom pictured first? With the white background right below the text “What are Pysilocybin mushrooms.”

  7.' Joseph Palmore on January 21, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    Pretty damn sure they’re cubensis

  8.' Andy k on February 27, 2020 at 5:59 pm

    Liberty caps in Britain can be found more commonly on grazing pastures that had never been cultivated in living memory before. Estate parkland or on hills and valleys in Wales where the land use is only excellent for sheep to graze on. With less pollutants in the surrounding environment, all makes for perfect shroom county. From September to December is the season to hunt for them. A bad day to hunt would be a rainy day. The best would be recently after rain and a few hours of warm sunshine to dry off the heads. With a low afternoon sun to your back, the sun light bounces off and illuminates the little caps and they become easier to find. Finding and picking is all part of the experience

    •' Fergus Neil O'Doherty on June 12, 2020 at 12:40 am

      Soccer fields also….but ones that dont spray chemicals.

    •' Jay on November 7, 2020 at 11:40 am

      Curious on my mushrooms which im being cautious on eating regardless who i got them from i can send pictures

  9.' Jeff Lebowe on March 3, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    Brittany the ones in the first photo are definitely cubensis. John the easiest way to identify psilocybes is to see if they bruise blue, however a taking spore print is necessary to be 100% sure.

    •' Tony Payne on September 13, 2020 at 6:44 pm

      How do you take a spore print

      •' William L. Jarvis on September 18, 2020 at 4:02 pm

        Take the stem from the cap and place the cap gill side down half on black and half on white paper. Cover with a dark container and leave it overnight. The spore will fall and leave a print on the paper to help you identify it. Stay safe and informed for a nice trip, lol

  10.' Allan on April 7, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    New at this.. have stamets guide. Looking for verification on some mycelia. How do I post pictures?

  11.' Cynthia Harvey on June 7, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    Where may I obtain psilocybin mushrooms? Can not find any around here. In fact , can not find ANY shrooms no matter what kind in my area. Would appreciate “safe to injest ones”. To use for medicinal purposes only. Thank you!

    •' Ma on November 20, 2020 at 12:39 am

      Depending on where you live, it might be perfectly legal to order spores online (although cultivating them may still be illegal, so take that in mind).

  12.' Susan on June 9, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    Live in SW Florida and have mushrooms resembling these growing in my backyard. Other than closely examine the photos, is there any other means of verifying what they are? My 4 dogs share this space and would like to have a way to have them identified. Thanks!

    •' Jeff eby on August 29, 2020 at 9:05 am

      Years ago, living in South Louisiana I had the opportunity to see psilocybin mushrooms there in all stages of their development. These were readily identifiable by several things.
      Number 1) they grow in cow dung piles.
      Number 2) look for a lacy collar around the stem, just under the gills. I discovered how this was formed and will explain in a minute.
      Number 3) they start out looking like a fresh, small white puffball mushroom.
      Number 4) the next stage is the development of a stem. As it grows up it brings the head with it on top, about the size of a golf ball and resembles a round water tower.
      Number 5) the top begins to spread out, becoming more disk like, and gradually darken to a tan color on top with a dark spot in the center.
      Number 6) if you look underneath at this point you will not be able to see the gills. They are hidden from view by a very thin, latex like membrane.
      Number 7) if you touch this membrane (I’m assuming at just the right time) it separates from the edges of the disk and snaps tightly to the stem. This is what causes the lacy collar. It’s also what releases the spores so if you have the right equipment you can collect those.
      I was told by a local there about how to do that. This method is simple. It requires a small, stiff, flat piece of plastic that can be carefully put into a baggie. Cut a slit to the center and a round hole there just big enough to fit around the stem. Then either wait for the membrane to break or better, keep touching it at intervals until it does. Then harvest the mushroom and carefully put the plastic sheet into the baggie. Done. Find some fresh cow dung, put it in a sunny but somewhat moist environment and “seed” it.
      Although I physically saw all phases described above, I’ve never had the chance to collect the spoors. I collected 17 shrooms that day, averaging about 2 inches in diameter, with the largest about 3 1/2 inches, cooked them into an omelet and split that with two other people. The initial high lasted around six hours and the spiritual euphoria stayed with me for 4 days!
      Hope that helps. I’m pretty sure that the same ones grow in Florida that grow in Louisiana.

      •' Drake on December 25, 2020 at 7:10 pm

        In S. Louisiana they should also turn blue where you bruise the stem.

  13.' Nick on June 18, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    Do Them wavy ones grow in Michigan? Just bought a house and a few acres and there was a ton of them last fall under some pine trees in my front yard. Thanks and fingers crossed!!

    •' Laura Riggle on June 24, 2020 at 7:16 pm

      Can anyone tell me if they are ever bright yellow and grow a little closer together?

    •' Haley on July 7, 2020 at 5:07 pm

      Does anybody know how intense “greek goddess” shrooms are?

    •' Jason on July 23, 2020 at 12:27 pm

      I can’t find a place to send pictures of the mushrooms that are growing out of the manure on my farm can you direct me to a place that I can send a picture and get an answer

      •' Diana Morales on July 25, 2020 at 12:03 pm

        Reddit 🙂

  14.' Justin on June 23, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    Found a light brown cap mushroom with a little light brown spot in the middle. The gills are black and underneath where the stem came off from the cap there are blue spots. Is this a magic shroom?

  15.' Wilk Okie Rose on August 13, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    When would you say is the optimal growing season? or finding season?

  16.' West Virginia CBD on August 22, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    Appreciate you for sharing.

  17.' Katherine on October 29, 2020 at 11:20 pm

    I am extremely interested in Psilocybin contained mushrooms for acute depression (I was consider electroshock until Oregon put it on the ballot to be medically legalized.) I am petrified of ingesting poisonous ones but like the fresh I buy at the store. I will diligently do my research, but if anyone can provide a real photo/description, “potting”/planting medium etc, please post somewhere & reach out to me with your reply, I will provide my info. etc. PS I read where one pill of the synthetic Psilocybin could be $7000?! I would happily be in a research program if anyone knows of one.

    •' Spicoli on June 17, 2021 at 2:09 pm

      Check out youtube, I hope you have found relief!

  18.' Henry r Russo on March 8, 2021 at 2:49 pm

    nice,then they cameout with stuff to put in food which killed spores.

  19.' MoJo on March 12, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    I have grown my own psilocybin from a spore print I got from sporeworks. The process has been by the PF Tech book and now I have a few mushrooms that have already broken their vales while other pins are still growing. the two that are ready are shorter than pictures I see. However they look to be typical Golden Teacher looking. Do you think there is any issue in having shorter stems?

    •' Don Scruggs on August 12, 2021 at 10:07 pm

      Hello MoJo…..I would like to converse with you regarding your post…..thank you for your time

  20.' Spicoli on June 17, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    I will never forget the stories from my highschool Biology teacher. An old timer, who had a best friend that became a mycologist. This hardcore MFer would trek out into the forests, and catalog mushrooms. He also ate them. From what I remember of the story, the guy brought a device to pump his own stomach in case he felt any ill effects, and would in depth describe what each made him start to feel. Of course, I believe one day he ate one that he didnt pump fast enough.

    “Don’t go eating random Fungi, or you will no longer be a fun guy” -Mr. Nelson ’04

  21.' Fliguy810 on June 26, 2021 at 4:41 am

    I found some mushroom growing in my wood chips, however, I have roses in 5 gallon buckets that have a home made compost that the local landscape supply has made and it has cow manure. the mushrooms were growing pretty much wherever I had a bucket sitting. I cannot make a positive ID……HELP?

  22.' Seanmck on August 10, 2021 at 2:54 pm

    Hello reader.

    I’m looking to micro-dose for the first time, my macrodosing days are behind me, I’d like to know since all these have wonderful mushrooms have different known properties, is there any particular type that helps with improved focus more than others.

    •' Chij on August 22, 2021 at 2:34 am

      No mushroom is going to help your focus. Adderall should do the trick for you

  23.' Chij on August 22, 2021 at 2:32 am

    I’m in Island Park Idaho. And have frequented mushrooms growing off of cow pies. It’s hit or miss some have the fungus some don’t. I haven’t consumed anything I’ve found yet but looking forward to testing them.

  24.' noobpicker on September 20, 2021 at 9:18 am

    I’m very beginner was ot picking came along a alot of different kinds was looking for help have a coupe pictures would anyone identity for me ?

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