Mushroom hunting, or foraging, is an age-old practice. Today, it’s not uncommon to see people out looking for a magic mushroom here and there.
The trick is to know the right time of the year and to memorize the different smells in the air. More importantly, to identify the cold dewy mornings when fresh psilocybin mushrooms naturally sprout.
These are just a few golden tips from wisdom passed down from generations on mushroom foraging.
Mushrooms thrive in various climates and habitats. In this article, we’ll focus on:
- How to pinpoint the ideal climate in your area for mushroom foraging.
- Ways to identify the type of magic mushrooms growing in your area.
Mushroom hunting might be the exciting adventure you’ve been looking for. It provides a perfect time for personal reflection or an enjoyable day with friends. And on top of that, you get to go home with a basket of fresh shrooms.
You’re probably wondering, “I’m new to mushrooms, where can I possibly start?”
Or you’re thinking, “I was an avid mushroom collector in my old town. But since I moved, I’m not familiar with the local species.”
Well, worry no more. We’re here to help you.
Mushroom Foraging 101
Contrary to public opinion, there’s a vibrant culture around hunting magic mushrooms. It dates back to the 60s and 70s when mushroom aficionados made a huge discovery.
They could find shrooms in their backyard and didn’t have to travel to Mexico in search of psilocybin.
Increasing knowledge of where to find the Psilocybe semilanceata mushroom species resulted in many youths looking for magic truffles globally.
Today, they’re armed with smartphones and access to many shroom identification forums.
But before you go asking for tips take note that some groups don’t allow you to ask questions. More so because of the traditional secrecy linked to mushroom foraging.
Don’t let the secrecy discourage you though. Here are some resources to help you deepen your knowledge of psilocybin mushrooms:
- Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World by Paul Stamets
- The Genus Psilocybe by Gaston Guzman
- Magic Mushrooms Around the World by Jochen Gartz
- The Field Guide to Mushrooms edited by Gary Lincoff and published by the National Audubon Society
- Mushrooms Demystified by David Aurora
- Mushrooms by Roger Phillips
Just pick one and get started.
Psilocybin Mushrooms: Climate and Habitat
The growth of psilocybin mushrooms anywhere depends on the local climate and habitat.
The eastern half of the United States is made up of two broad climatic regions. Namely: tropical humid and humid tropical wet and dry.
The range of P. cubensis in the United States fits neatly in Florida and along the Gulf Coast. Here it fruits practically throughout the year on “cow pies.”
In contrast, the western half of the continent is made up of arid and semiarid climates. These regions have fewer Psilocybe species. Namely:
- P. azurescens
- P. cyanescens
- P. allenii
The west coast, classified as Oceanic, is famous for these fall fruiting wood lovers. In order to thrive, these species need cold nights and dewy mornings.
Let’s move, and look at the rest of the world.
A large part of Europe (including the UK), southeast Australia, and New Zealand are also considered Oceanic. And the main species that thrive in these areas are the fruiting wood loving species.
Fungi grow in various habitats so shrooms are often commonly found in:
- Dung deposits
P. cubensis and Panaeolus cyanescens are specifically famous dung loving species. P. semilanceata grows in the pasture, but since it’s saprophytic, it grows from decomposing grass.
The wood lovers such as P. azurescens, P. cyanescens, and P. subaeruginosa, originally sprout on the edges of woodlands but have gladly spread into gardens.
Which One Is it? Poop or Wood?
But let’s start with the anatomy of a mushroom.
The main body of the mushroom is the mycelium. It exists beneath the ground, within the substrate.
The mushroom itself is the reproductive part of the fungus. It produces seed-like sporks into the air for dispersal.
Fungi technically eat “inside out”.
Just stay with us here…
They excrete enzymes to digest what’s in their surrounding environment.
Some enzymes can only break down simple compounds, while others more complex compounds. It all depends on the species of magic mushrooms. For instance, there are lignins found inside the wood.
There are broadly three types of magic mushrooms:
- Saprophytic mushrooms – They grow on wood or plant-based materials.
- Coprophilous fungi – These are the “poo lovers” that grow on animal dung.
- Houmous – They grow on well-decomposed plant matter that’s similar to oil.
N.B: Poo lovers like herbivore feces that grow on cowpats, contain grass and other plant matter. All of which has already gone through a long digestive process. This leaves a substrate of simple cellulose that the mushroom can easily gobble up.
Searching for P. cubensis is pretty easy. Just keep an eye out for a large mushroom, it should be visible from a distance. Honestly, the hardest part according to frequent pickers is being the first to find and pick them.
P. semilanceata, on the other hand, isn’t as easy to identify. Not because of its many look-alikes growing in the same area like Mycena.
But because they grow from rotting grass. This means that unless their caps rise above the level of the grass, you may not be able to spot them.
Then there are the potent wood lovers that grow on different types of wood:
- P. cyanescens (North America, Europe)
- P. subaeruginosa (Australia, New Zealand)
- P. azurescens
- P. allenii (West Coast of the US)
These Psilocybes are commonly found on the edge of forest trails. Their spores often attach to the boots and clothing of foragers.
They also tend to jump from the wild into urban areas like gardens, growing on wood-chip mulches in temperate climates.
Feel the Difference With Our Magic Mushrooms
If you reside in a big city, there’s a possibility that most of the shrooms are grown indoors under artificial conditions. They may go by names like:
- Penis Envy
- Golden Teacher
- “Cubes” (a.k.a. Psilocybe cubensis)
There just one problem, you’re not sure about the quality.
That’s one thing you will never have to worry about with shrooms by Mind Mend.
I’ve tried lots of products on the market and they seem very inconsistent when it comes to dosage and quality. Mind Mend has never let me down. Top-notch quality with consistency.” – Bruce Ingraham
Not only do we offer an array of quality products but we also help you to embark on your shroom journey.
Very knowledgeable staff and honest. Walked me through my first experience and you can tell these guys legit want to help people. Needed help when it came to coming off medications and they were super helpful.” – Tung’ Le
Featured Image: unsplash.com by Patrick Pahlke