Magic Mushroom
Field Guide

WARNING: Unless you are well versed in the identification of mushrooms, do not try to identify any species of mushroom from the included pictures without the text descriptions below. And even then be very cautious. Most species of Psilocybe are considered to be LBM's (little brown mushrooms) and have thousands of look-alikes (to the beginner). Eat one wrong mushroom and, up to 2 weeks later symptoms develop, and the only chance of saving your life is a liver- or kidney-transplant. A mushroom should never be eaten unless you are 100% sure in its identification. Even experienced mushroom gatherers have made errors. Do not take this warning lightly.

Your best method to learn how to identify any species is to get to know someone that does know that species and learn from them. Text and pictures are poor substitute to the experience of an individual that knows what they are doing. An experienced mushro om gatherer will know the subtleties in that species that will help him to reject a look-alike from the target 'shroom. Sometimes it can be just a slight difference in color/tint or minor texture change, or the plants that are growing around a mushroom that will let the experienced 'shroomer know which one is safe and which one is not. If at all possible, you should also have a high-powered microscope available when trying to identify a species you've never gathered before. Along with spore-prints, you should look at and measure the actual spore shape and size. If you are not familiar with making spore-prints, get a good book on mushrooms that explain the procedure, and always make a print on a half black and half white surface to help insure your estimation to a specific shade mentioned. Pay attention to the text below and you will also notice that some Psilocybe species do not bruise blue. On further mushroom studies you will find that some deadly species from other genera do bruise blue. Just because a mushroom bruises blue does not mean it is safe. Nor that it is hallucinogenic. THERE IS NO ONE SAFE TEST FOR ANY MUSHROOM!

This compilation of scanned photos and text are not meant to be a total reference in the identification of these 'shrooms. Some taxonomic descriptions can be confusing and other books should be used to clarify the difference between things like "adnate" and "adnexed", or "pendant" and "flaring" when describing the various parts of mushrooms. As an example, when gills are "attached" this does not simply mean it has gills, it refers to the way they are growing from the stalk. I've neither the time nor energy to type a complete glossary and draw diagrams. If you want to gather your own 'shrooms, and prevent your own death from a mistake, I suggest you get more information than is contained in this collection. And who knows, I may have made a typing mistake here, I'd hate to think someone died because I accidently typed "attached" where I should have typed "unattached". I'll do my best to prevent that but there are no guarantees. Also, there are differences between color monitors when displaying pictures. Sin ce so much depends on slight color variations when identifying 'shrooms, I've done all I can to insure these photos appeared on my monitor as they appeared in the original photos, the same may not be true on your end. My monitor is supposed to be up to industry standards. I've no way of checking that to be 100% sure though.

Below are the descriptions of the photos contained in this collection. Please refer to the name on the photo to the proper text. (Also note that the inch measurements on the photos are for the cap-width.) Please don't distribute the accompanying photos without including this text file. You need both, and maybe even more, to identify these species. A kid with photo in hand might think that is all he needs to identify a 'shroom and have a "trip". Please be responsible with this packet of information.

Notes from the ascii translator: Due to this text being typed in plain ascii, some changes were made from the original text: the word "microns" is used instead of the greek letter representation; and other liberties were taken in the paragraph formats, etc. I've also taken the liberty to add some (Editor's Notes) at the end of some entries.
When in doubt -- do not eat it. When all doubt has been removed -- check again.

There are two kinds of mushroom hunters -- smart ones, and dead ones. Even some of the smart ones are dead now.


Potent Psilocybe
Psilocybe baeocystis Sing. & A.H.S
Strophariaceae, Agaricales


Description Sticky, conical, brown cap with brownish gills and off-white stalk; bruising blue.
Cap 5/8" - 2 1/4" (1.5-5.5 cm) wide; conical with incurved margin, expanding to convex or flat; sticky, olive- to buff-brown, bruising and aging greenish about margin.
Gills attached, close, broad; grayish, becoming dark purplish-gray.
Stalk 2" - 2 3/4" (5-7 cm) long, 1/16" - 1/8" (1.5-3 mm) thick; whitish, covered with small, whitish fibers.
Veil partial veil evanescent.
Spores 10-13 X 6.3-7 microns; elliptical, smooth, with pore at tip. Spore print dark purplish.
Edibility Hallucinogenic.
Season September-November
Habitat Scattered to numerous, in wood chips, on decayed wood, and decaying moss.
Range Pacific NW.
Look-alikes P. strictipes has long, brittle, straight stalk. The hallucinogenic P. cyanescens has broad, wavy, knobbed cap.
Comments This species is a potent hallucinogen that contains several active compounds. Its side effects are not well known.
Images See: the Sputnik Psilocybe baeocystis page.

Blue-Foot Psilocybe
Psilocybe caerulipes (Pk.) Sacc.
Strophariaceae, Agaricales

Description Brownish, knobbed cap, fading to yellow, with brown gills; whitish stalk bluish at base; on decayed wood.
Cap 3/8" - 1 3/8" (1-3.5 cm) wide; conical to convex with incurved margin, becoming flat or broadly knobbed; sticky, becoming dry, smooth; watery-cinnamon to yellowish; bruising greenish or bluish, sometimes slowly.
Gills attached, close to crowded, narrow; brownish to rust-cinnamon.
Stalk 1 1/4" - 2 3/8" (3-6 cm) long, 1/16" - 1/8" (1.5-3 mm) thick, enlarging to base; whitish, staining greenish-blue.
Veil partial veil evanescent.
Spores 7-10 X 4-5.5 microns, (but 10-12 X 5.7 microns from 2-spored basidia); elliptical, smooth, with pore at tip. Spore print dark purple-brown.
Edibility Hallucinogenic.
Season August-October.
Habitat Single or in small clusters, on deciduous wood and wood mulch, especially birch and maple.
Range Maine to North Carolina, west to Michigan.
Comments Often overlooked or ignored as just another LBM, little brown mushroom, this hallucinogenic species turns blue on handling, usually after several minutes.
Images See: the Sputnik Psilocybe caerulipes page.

Dung-Loving Psilocybe
Psilocybe coprophila (Bull. ex Fr.) Kum.
Strophariaceae, Agaricales

Description Sticky, brownish cap with brown gills and yellowish-brown stalk.
Cap 3/8" - 1 1/4" (1-3 cm) wide; convex to broadly convex or flat; margin with whitish patches at first; smooth, dark reddish-brown, fading to grayish-brown.
Gills attached, nearly distant, broad; whitish to brown or purplish-brown.
Stalk 3/4" - 1 5/8" (2-4 cm) long, 1/16" - 1/4" (1.5-5 mm) thick; whitish, darkening to brown, but not bruising blue.
Veil (when present) partial veil evanescent.
Spores 11-14 X 7-8.5 microns; elliptical, smooth, with pore at tip. Spore print purplish-brown.
Edibility Hallucinogenic.
Season June-October.
Habitat Single to numerous, on horse or cow dung.
Range Widely distributed in North America.
Look-alikes P. merdaria has central ring zone on stalk. Stropharia semiglobata is ringed, yellowish. Panaeolus species have black spores. Coprinus species liquefy.
Comments This weak hallucinogen is the most widespread psilocybe in North America.
Images See: the Sputnik Psilocybe coprophila page.
editor's note Some of the look-alike species are edible, poisonous, or no mention is made of their bio-chemical qualities. One of the species in the Panaeolus genus, the Girdled Panaeolus (Panaeolus subbalteatus), is mentioned as also being hallucinogenic and common enough to be considered a weed. No photo or description of it was included in this set. Check other resources for further info, I'm only covering some of the psilocybes here.

Common Large Psilocybe
Psilocybe cubensis (Ear.) Sing.
Strophariaceae, Agaricales


Description Large, fleshy, yellowish cap with brown gills and a persistent ring on stalk; bruising blue; on cow manure.
Cap 5/8" - 3 1/2" (1.5-9 cm) wide; conical or bell-shaped, becoming convex to flat with central knob; sticky, hairless; white with brownish-yellow center, becoming entirely brownish-yellow, bruising and aging bluish.
Gills attached, close, narrow; gray, becoming deep violet-gray, then black; edges whitish.
Stalk 1 3/8" - 6" (3.5-15 cm) long, 1/8" - 5/8" (0.3-1.5 cm) thick, becoming enlarged below; smooth, grooved at top; white, bruising blue.
Veil partial veil membranous; leaving persistent white ring (soon blackish from falling spores) on upper stalk.
Spores 11.5-17 X 8-11.5 microns; oval to elliptical, smooth, thick-walled, blunt, with distinct pore at tip. Spore print purple-brown.
Edibility Hallucinogenic.
Season Nearly year-round.
Habitat On cow and horse dung in pastures.
Range Gulf Coast.
Comments This is an abundant member of the Gulf Coast pastureland flora.
Images See: the Sputnik Psilocybe cubensis page.

Bluing Psilocybe
Psilocybe cyanescens Wkfld.
Strophariaceae, Agaricales


Desciption Tacky, wavy, brown cap, fading to yellowish, with brownish gills and whitish stalk; bruising blue.
Cap 3/4" - 1 5/8" (2-4 cm) wide; convex, becoming nearly flat with undulating or wavy margin; sticky to moist, smooth; dark chestnut-brown, fading to yellowish, bruising blue.
Gills attached, nearly distant, broad; cinnamon-brown, becoming darker.
Stalk 2 3/8" - 3 1/4" (6-8 cm) long, 1/8" - 1/4" (3-5 mm) thick, sometimes enlarged at base; curved, whitish, bruising blue.
Veil partial veil white, evanescent.
Spores 9-12 X 5.5-8.3 microns; elliptical, smooth, with pore at tip. Spore print purple-brown.
Edibility Hallucinogenic.
Season September-November.
Habitat Several to many, in coniferous mulch.
Range British Columbia to San Francisco.
Look-alikes The hallucinogenic P. baeocystis and P. strictipes lack wavy margin.
Comments When ingested in large quantity, this can be strongly hallucinogenic.
Images See: the Sputnik Psilocybe cyanescens page.

Mountain Moss Psilocybe
Psilocybe montana (fr.) Que'l.
Strophariaceae, Agaricales

Description Small, dark brown mushroom; in moss.
Cap 1/4" - 1" (0.5-2.5 cm) wide; conical, becoming broadly convex to knobbed; margin lined; moist, smooth; dark reddish-brown, drying yellowish-brown.
Gills attached, almost distant, moderately broad; pale brown, becoming dark reddish-brown.
Stalk 1" - 2" (2.5-5 cm) long, 1/16" (1.5 mm) thick, sometimes enlarged at base; dry, smooth, dark reddish-brown.
Veil partial veil evanescent.
Spores 5.5-8 X 4-5 microns; elliptical, smooth, with pore at tip. Spore print purple-brown.
Season July-September.
Habitat Single to several, in moss.
Range W. North America; eastward in mountains.
Comments Psilocybe is a large genus of mostly small, brownish mushrooms with purple-brown spore prints. Relatively few are known to be hallucinogenic.
Images See: the Sputnik Psilocybe montana page.
editor's note The text I am typing from makes no mention if this one is or is not hallucinogenic, nor does it mention its toxicity nor edibility -- be careful. Even the best reference books don't have sources to know if certain species are safe to eat or not . I only included this one to show you that we don't know everything about all mushrooms and should always be cautious.)

Conifer Psilocybe
Psilocybe pelliculosa (A.H.S.) Sing. & A.H.S.
Strophariaceae, Agaricales


Description Sticky, dark brown, conical cap with brown gills and off-white, hairy stalk.
Cap 1/4" - 3/4" (0.5-2 cm) wide; conical to bell-shaped; sticky, smooth; dark brown, fading to tan, bruising blue.
Gills attached, close, narrow; cinnamon-brown, then darkening.
Stalk 2 3/8" - 3 1/4" (6-8 cm) long, 1/16" (1.5 mm) thick; whitish, darkening; covered with small, grayish fibers.
Veil partial veil evanescent.
Spores 9.3-11 X 5.5 microns; elliptical, smooth, with pore at tip. Spore print purple-brown.
Edibility Hallucinogenic.
Season September-November.
Habitat Several to many, separately or in clusters, on conifer mulch in woods.
Range British Columbia to N. California.
Look-alikes The hallucinogenic P. semilanceata found in manured grass, has smooth stalk. P. silvatica has smaller spores.
Comments This species, often confused with the Liberty Cap (P. semilanceata), lacks its narrowly conical cap and is only weakly hallucinogenic.
Images See: the Sputnik Psilocybe pelliculosa page.

Liberty Cap
Psilocybe semilanceata (Fr. ex Secr.) Kum.
Strophariaceae, Agaricales


Description Slimy, narrowly conical, brown to tan cap with brownish gills and smooth, off-white stalk; in pastures and manured areas.
Cap 3/8" - 1" (1-2.5 cm) wide; sharply conical, often peaked, and not expanding; sticky, smooth; brownish, fading to tan, bruising blue on margin.
Gills attached, close, broad; grayish, becoming dark brown.
Stalk 2" - 4" (5-10 cm) high, 1/16" (1.5 mm) thick; very thin, whitish.
Veil partial veil evanescent.
Spores 11-14 X 7-8 microns; elliptical, smooth, with pore at tip. Spore print purple-brown.
Edibility Hallucinogenic.
Season Late August-November.
Habitat Scattered to numerous, in tall grass and grassy hummocks in cow pastures.
Range Widely distributed; common in Pacific NW.; also reported in Quebec.
Look-alikes The hallucinogenic P. pelliculosa and P. silvatica grow in wood chips or mulch, and have conical caps.
Comments This species is one of the most familiar of the Oregon coast.
Images See: the Sputnik Psilocybe semilanceata page.

Scaly-Stalked Psilocybe
Psilocybe squamosa (Pers. ex Fr.) Orton
Strophariaceae, Agaricales

Description Sticky, brownish cap with grayish- to purple-brown gills and densely scaly stalk.
Cap 1" - 3" (2.5-7.5 cm) wide; conical, expanding to broadly knobbed; sticky, with evanescent marginal scales, becoming smooth; brown to tawny or olive-brown with age.
Gills attached, close to almost distant, broad; whitish to gray or purple-brown.
Stalk 2 3/8" - 4 3/4" (6-12 cm) high, 1/8" - 3/8" (0.3-1 cm) thick; brownish, densely scaly below ring (scales and ring readily lost on handling or weathering).
Veil partial veil leaving evanescent ring on stalk.
Spores 12-14 X 6-7.5 microns; elliptical, smooth, with pore at tip. Spore print purple-brown.
Season Late August-October.
Habitat Single to several, on decayed wood in mixed forests.
Range Widespread in N. United States.
Look-alikes P. thrausta has red cap.
Comments This species has also been placed in the genera Stropharia and Naematoloma because it shares characteristics of all 3 groups. In fact, some specialists hold that these genera should be combined.
Images See: the Sputnik Psilocybe squamosa page.
editor's note A quick check on the species in these other genera shows them to be either deadly or an excellent edible, but none show notes as to them being hallucinogenic. However, some in these other genera have no mention of edibility or toxicity. So much is still unknown. Just in case you were wondering -- as I was. Note too that there is no mention to this Psilocybe's edibility, toxicity, or hallucinogenic qualities if any.

Stuntz's Blue Legs
Psilocybe stuntzii Guzman and Ott
Strophariaceae, Agaricales


Description Sticky, brownish cap with brownish gills and brownish, ringed stalk; bruising blue.
Cap 5/8" - 1 5/8" (1.5-4 cm) wide; conical, expanding to broadly convex with central knob, or nearly flat; becoming somewhat wavy and uplifted; sticky to moist, smooth; dark to yellow-brown, often green-tinged on margin.
Gills attached, close to almost distant, broad; off-white, becoming brownish.
Stalk 1 1/4" - 2 3/8" (3-6 cm) long, 1/8" (3 mm) thick, sometimes enlarged at base; yellowish, smooth to fibrous.
Veil partial veil leaves fragile ring that becomes bluish zone on upper stalk.
Spores 8-12.5 X 6-8 microns; elliptical, smooth, with pore at tip. Spore print purple-brown.
Edibility Hallucinogenic.
Season September-December
Habitat Several to clustered, in coniferous wood-chip mulch; reported on lawns.
Range Pacific NW.
Look-alikes The deadly Galerina autumnalis has tawny cap fading to yellow, brown gills, and rust-brown spore print. Stropharia species do not bruise blue.
Comments Also known as the "Washington Blue Veil". Like some other blue legs, this does not blue conspicuously. To avoid confusing it with the Deadly Galerina (Galerina autumnalis), be sure to take a spore print.
Images See: the Sputnik Psilocybe stuntzii page.
editor's note The spores for the Deadly Galerina are 8.5-10.5 X 5-6.5 microns; elliptical, roughened, with smooth depression.

If you die from eating a mushroom of questionable qualities, all I can say is, "Thanks for providing us with the new information!" The data from your autopsy will save the rest of us from making the same mistake. Harsh but true. In other words (again) -- be careful! Nobody will assume any responsibility for your death or illness if you make a mistake with 'shrooms. Not even if you are only gathering 'shrooms for dinner, let alone 'shrooms for a "trip." You are on your own on this one.

All that aside -- I wish the best for you in your adventures in 'shrooming. I hope this collective of words and pics will open up a new "Virtual Reality" for you -- commonly known as the "Real Reality". Maybe this will get some of you away from your monitors and out into the woods and fields on occasion. There's lots of "stuff" out there! (And most of it isn't delivered to you in data-packets and doesn't even need batteries or an A.C. outlet, nor a credit card number. Yep, believe it or not -- it's true, honest!)

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