How to Identify Magic Mushrooms

Magic Mushroom Identification – Psilocybe Mushroom Species USA States

How To Identify Magic Mushrooms from the Psilocybe Cubensis Mushroom Expert

What Do Shrooms Look Like? Psilocybe Cubensis Identification

As part of your journey in the world of amateur microscopy or mycological research into mushroom spores, you may find yourself interested in learning more about psilocybin mushrooms themselves, and about how to identify magic mushrooms, rather than just learning about mushroom spores or how they can come from mushroom spore syringes.

Identifying Psychedelic Mushrooms – How To Identify Psilocybe Cubensis

For psilocybe cubensis identification information, just like the psychedelic mushrooms spores they orignate from, psilocybin mushrooms are beautiful organisms which grow naturally in the wild all over the world, including in the United States. Identifying psilocybin mushrooms growing in the wild could be your first step into the world of psychedelic mushroom strains.

Equally as fascinating is their psychoactive compound psilocin to answer the question “what is psilocin” in psilocybin mushrooms. Start by learning about mushroom foraging in the wild.

Mushrooms Foraging & Mushrooms Hunting in the USA – Psilocybe Species by State

Do note that while their spores are legal in most states, mature psilocybin mushrooms are illegal in the United States but you can certainly learn about mushroom foraging in the USA states.

Magic mushrooms identification and the practice of identifying psilocybin mushrooms should be preceded with having a very firm understanding of your local laws before interacting with mature psilocybin mushrooms in any way, even while studying basic shrooms for beginners topics. Do not consume, touch, or otherwise physically interact with any wild mushroom unless you are a trained expert in psilocybin identification and are obeying your local laws.

To learn more about the laws concerning psilocybin mushrooms, and to learn more about what are psychedelic mushrooms, their spores, identifying psilocybin mushrooms and their benefits, and about psychedelic mushroom strains and the compound psilocybin itself, we suggest reading the following resource on mushroom spores legal details and learn about are mushroom spores legal in Colorado or learn about psilocybin spore legality details by states.

Many Different Types of Magic Mushroom Spores To Grow

Psilocybe cubensis mushroom consumers looking for mushroom spore growing kits or for psilocybe cubensis spores to grow should look for quality and 100% viability in a grow kit which is exactly what stocks and sells online in our Denver, CO spore store.

As long as you make sure that you’re not breaking any laws in your states when studying them, psilocybin mushrooms are a fascinating topic to explore and fascinating fungi, as we’ve taken to calling them!

If you’d like to study psilocybin spores or buy premium spores from our Denver, Colorado spore store, and you live in one of the 47 states where it’s legal for at-home scientists to do so, please read our resource all about how to become an amateur microscopist. However, in this article, we’ll be discussing the mature mushrooms.

Types of Psilocybe Species

Identifying Magic Mushrooms

One of the first things any amateur mycologist is sure to be interested in is how to identify psilocybin mushrooms and about what is included in a psilocybin mushroom spore kit. So let’s talk exactly about identifying magic mushrooms. Read on to learn about magic mushroom identification and the the unique characteristics of the different types of psilocybe cubensis mushrooms and psilocybe species:

  • Psilocybe cubensis
  • Popular strains and hybrids of Psilocybe cubensis
  • Psilocybe azurescens
  • Psilocybe semilanceata
  • Psilocybe mexicana
  • Psilocybe cyanescens
  • Psilocybe baeocystis
The gills of a wild mushroom, where psilocybin spores are produced

How To Identify Psilocybin Mushrooms: Psilocybin mushrooms tend to share some of the same traits. Generally, though not always, observers will want to look out for mushrooms with a golden brown color. Their stems will often have a blue mottling, particularly when the stem is bruised—interestingly, this is caused by a chemical reaction that occurs when psilocybin and oxygen meet. Finally regarding psiloscybe cubensis identification, psilocybin mushrooms tend to have a purple veil protecting the gills, or, if broken, it will appear as a small dark purple ring on the stem.

With that basic knowledge in mind, let’s continue by learning how to further identify one of the most popular and well known magic mushrooms in the world:

How to Identify Psilocybe Cubensis, The Most Well-Known Magic Mushroom in the World

The popularity of Psilocybe cubensis may perhaps be attributed in part because of its wide availability and the ease of creating a psilocybe cubensis spore print; it grows quite commonly in not only the United States and Central America, but all over the rest of the world too, including South America, Cuba, Australia, and many parts of Asia, including Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

This psilocybin mushroom’s natural habitat is usually that of a humid grassland—it commonly grows from the waste of grazing mammals like cows, horses, or goats. Because of this, mycologists sometimes refer to Psilocybe cubensis as a coprophilic fungus, meaning that it’s a dung-loving species of mushroom. It may sound unappealing, but the reason for this is actually pretty interesting: the dung of grass-eating mammals tends to have very low acidity (as do their stomachs, which is important for reasons we’ll discover in a moment).

Two mushrooms in a humid grassland, the natural habitat of many psychoactive mushrooms

If you’ve been paying attention in some of our other resources where we describe the mushroom life cycle, you might be wondering how spores can so reliably find their way to so-called “cow patties.” While it’s true that mushrooms can be pretty clever with how they distribute their spores, in this case shroom spores are almost always on whatever the grazing mammals are eating beforehand.

Mushroom Life Cycle

The mushroom life cycle process looks a bit like this: a cow or a goat eats some feed, usually just some grass outside. If that feed had spores on it, the animal will eat those too. Since the stomach of the animal has such low acidity levels, the spores may gain the opportunity to germinate inside the animal itself. When the animal relieves itself, the mushrooms can use the nutrients in its waste to continue to mature. Contrary to popular belief, cubensis mushrooms do not usually grow underneath the manure.

In appearance, Psilocybe cubensis changes color somewhat depending on age. While young, its coloration is reddish-brown, almost cinnamon. At maturity, it takes on a golden brown coloration, and can grow to be a pale yellow or almost completely white when old. The cap is conical or bell-shaped when young and may expand to a more convex appearance as time passes. When bruised, a blueish tint can be observed.


Thanks to its popularity, there are nearly countless different strains of Psilocybe cubensis varieties and strains available for sale in the psilocybin spore kits, many of which are available beginning with mushroom spores from Before we move on from ways to identify magic mushroom species, or to further discuss some of the other species of magic mushroom, let’s take a moment to talk about some of the more popular strains of cubensis:

Psilocybe Cubensis Strains: What to Know & Good Starters for Beginner Microscopists

Psilocybe cubensis has so many different strains that it would be impossible to discuss them all here, but we do have time to cover a few of the most popular varieties appreciated by home scientists the world over.

Perhaps the most well known strain of cubensis refers to the nickname “Golden Teachers” coming from the Golden Teacher spore syringe which mycologists believe is an excellent psilocybe cubensis species that’s best for beginners studying spores for microscopy – yet the strain is also beloved even by advanced researchers. This mildly potent strain looks like its namesake and features beautifully wide, golden-colored caps and thick, winding stems.

Four Syringes of Psilocybin Spores for Microscopy Research

Like the Golden Teacher strain, another popular psilocybin mushroom strain for beginners starts with b+ mushroom spores or the Penis Envy mushroom spores which generate a far more advanced mushroom strain. At parity with Golden Teacher insofar as how beloved it is by mycologists, this strain grows in the wild in humid areas of the United States like Florida. A hybrid of Psilocybe azurescens and Psilocybe cubensis, this strain is quick to germinate in the wild and at maturity features a large, caramel-colored cap and a thick stem.

How to Identify Wild Psilocybe Azurescens Magic Mushrooms

As part of the B+ hybrid strain, Psilocybe azurescens is more colloquially known as the “flying saucer” mushroom, thanks to the saucer-like appearance of its mature, flattened caps. Its coloration is a rich caramel brown, possibly darker and chestnut while moist after a strong rain. Notable about Psilocybe azurescens is that when bruised, a deep, dark blue coloration appears very quickly. Its gills are a dark brown, which contrast quite strongly with its pale white stem.

Psilocybe azurescens tends to grow in the wild along the western coast of the United States, preferring coastal areas and sandy grasslands for its home. This species can be spotted during the late months of the year beginning in September and, weather permitting, extending into January.

Psilocybe semilanceata habitat
Psilocybe semilanceata habitat

How to Identify Psilocybe Semilanceata Psilocybin Mushrooms in the World

Otherwise known as “liberty caps,” the potent Psilocybe semilanceata psilocybin mushroom grows naturally in both the United States and Canada as well as parts of Europe. It prefers meadows, pastures, and grasslands, though unlike Psilocybe cubensis, this mushroom is not a coprophilic fungi, meaning that it doesn’t grow out of the waste of animals. Instead, liberty caps tend to pop up amid the grass, particularly after wet weather.

The cap of the mushroom is the color of leather, a light brown with few deviations, though grooves may be seen which correspond to the gills. The stem is a pale white, which is usually long and curvaceous. When bruised, Psilocybe semilanceata will quickly display a blue coloration.

How to Identify Psilocybe Mexicana, the Magic Mushroom Native to Central and South America

The species Psilocybe mexicana has a long history, with human interactions going back thousands of years if you’re interested in the history and anthropological importance of psilocybin mushrooms.

Used in religious rituals, spiritual practices, and indigenous medicines, Psilocybe mexicana could, to the untrained eye, be at first mistaken for Psilocybe semilanceata—though in practice on isn’t likely to make this mistake, since the two species grow naturally in such different parts of the world.

Like semilanceata, Psilocybe mexicana has a conical or bell-shaped cap, leathery-brown in appearance, and usually grooved in correspondence with the underlying gills. Their stems aren’t usually as curved however, and take on a pale yellow coloration, rather than purely white. Like most psilocybin mushrooms, when bruised, Psilocybe mexicana takes on a deep blue coloration in affected areas.

These mushrooms grow at elevations below 1,000 feet, usually amid moss or grass, and they love humid meadows and forest trails. While usually spotted in groups, Psilocybe mexicana can be solitary. It is usually found during the warm months of between May and October.

Recognizing Psilocybe Cyanescens, Commonly Known As “Wavy Caps” Psilocybin Mushrooms

So-called “Wavy Caps” Psilocybe cyanescens is a prolific mushroom species, growing in the United States and Canada, Western and Central Europe, New Zealand, and even Iran in the Middle East.

It is often found growing in urban areas, though naturally rather than as part of cultivation, since it thrives on wood chips. When homeowners mulch their plant beds and other conditions are right, Psilocybe cyanescens can crop up.

Mycologists even believe that the widespread use of mulch is largely responsible for this mushroom’s rapid propagation around the world, since it grows in areas where it likely never existed previously. Spores would have found their way onto mulch, which was then transported elsewhere.

A row of landscaped flowers, a place where Psilocybe cyanescens might be found

The name “Wavy Caps” comes from, as you would suspect, the distinctly wavy appearance of this mushroom’s cap. The more mature the mushroom is, the more likely it is that the cap takes on a wavy, curving appearance. The gills of this species are thick and may cause grooves to appear on the cap, especially if the mushroom is well hydrated. The cap and gills have caramel coloration, whereas the stem is a chalky off-white. When bruised, a deep blue coloration will appear, as with similar psilocybin mushrooms.

What Wild Psilocybe Baeocystis Looks Like

Sometimes called “bottle caps” or “blue bells,” Psilocybe Baeocystis grows naturally in the Northwestern United States, thanks to the regions frequent rainfall and high humidity. Like Psilocybe cyanescens, this species loves mulch and wood chips and is occasionally found in landscaped areas, though it has not proliferated globally like cyanescens. It also grows in the wild, often below Douglas fir trees.

Psilocybe baeocystis has a unique coloration, usually appearing in dark green, olive colors, making it difficult to spot in terrain which shares those colors. It sometimes has blue tinges even without bruising, and when it is bruised, this coloration becomes even more pronounced. It has a conical cap and a white stem.

Now That You Know About Mushrooms, Why Not Study Their Spores Under Microscope Equipment?

Identifying mature mushrooms is one thing—but did you know that microscopists can identify mushrooms based on the characteristics of their spores alone?

If you’d like to test your taxonomy skills, you’ll want to learn and examine in Denver, CO mushroom spores for microscopy specimens along with quality microscope equipment to examine not only the spores but the mature mushrooms fruiting body. It’s the only way to truly round out your skills in magic mushroom identification!