How to Find Psychedelic Mushrooms

Xavier Francuski · January 27th, 2019

Psilocybin mushrooms are an all-time psychonaut favorite, and rightfully so. They belong to a class of psychedelics called entheogens – this word was coined to describe their immensely spiritual properties and purpose, and can be translated to something along the lines of “manifesting divinity.”

There is evidence to suggest that psychedelic mushrooms have been used ritually by Aztecs, Mayas, and other ancient Mesoamerican cultures, and perhaps many thousands of years before that by aboriginal Saharan tribes in North Africa. According to Terence McKenna, psilocybin might actually be responsible for the development of our creativity hundreds of thousands of years ago.

In any case, humans have been connecting with the divine via magic mushrooms for a long time, and this tradition has carried on into the modern age. However, in this modern age, possession and use of shrooms is forbidden by law in most of the world. The question poses itself – how and where to find magic mushrooms? Without further ado, below are a few of the most accessible ways to source them.

We’ve written about psilocybin mushrooms here, in our Essential Guide.

Want to skip the risk of misidentifying mushrooms in nature?

With Third Wave’s Mushrooms Grow Kit and Course, you know exactly the type of mushrooms you’re harvesting.

Our in-depth guide and step-by-step videos will have you growing your own mushrooms in no time!

Pick them yourself

Finding psychedelic mushrooms might not be as tricky as you’d think. The first place where you should consider looking for them is probably the most obvious one – your own backyard.

Psilocybin mushrooms are abundant in nature. If you live in the right place, you can get quite lucky during their fruiting season. However, you need to be seriously acquainted with the different strains that grow in your area. It’s a well-known fact that mushrooms come in all shapes and sizes, as well as in various levels of toxicity. Some can cause mild poisoning, while others can be quite deadly. At times, the differences in their appearance are minute, but you need to be sure that what you’re picking won’t be the end of you.

Where do magic mushrooms grow?

The number one element all fungi need for growth is moisture. Dry air and wind can easily kill them. They also require a certain temperature, which is specific for each species, and fertile soil full of nutrients such as sugar, starch, lignin, fats, protein, and nitrogen.

If there is a right amount of nutrients in tree bark, fallen leaves, dung, mulch, or compost, you will find mushrooms happily sprouting on the surface. They don’t necessarily need a dark environment, but the absence of light does help the air retain its moisture. This is why densely forested areas close to big bodies of water usually provide suitable conditions, so it’s a good place to start looking for them.

Animal dung (especially cow dung) is about as nutritious a growing environment as it gets – if the humidity is right, it’s highly probable to spot them growing from it.

Where to find magic mushrooms

You can find psychedelic mushrooms quite commonly throughout North America, especially on the West Coast, in the northeast of the continent, and around the Gulf of Mexico. Mexico itself and most of Central America are brimming with them, and so are some South American countries, such as Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, and Argentina.

Hawaii seems to be a paradise not just for holidays – some world-class strains come from these ancient islands. Other locations abundant with shrooms are South Africa, the east coast of Australia, South India, the Philippines, and pretty much the whole coastal region of Southeast Asia.

Oh, and you can find shrooms growing all over Europe, too.

psilcybe mushroom global distribution map
From: Guzmán G, Allen JW, Gartz J (1998). A worldwide geographical distribution of the neurotropic fungi, an analysis and discussion. Annali del Museo Civico di Rovereto. 14: 207

So, if you are feeling up for some foraging, odds are that there are fresh magic shrooms growing somewhere close by. But, again – make sure to become extremely familiar with all the types of mushrooms growing in your area, their effect and appearance. Erowid has a valuable resource for identifying the trippy ones and Shroomery has a thorough list of all the species of psilocybin shrooms you can find growing in countries around the world and states around the USA. Mycotopia is also a great online community where you can consult with fellow shroomheads about anything you might be curious or concerned about.

How to identify magic mushrooms

There is an incredible variety of mushroom species in general, and the same goes for the psilocybin-containing ones. So far, there are some 227 accepted and classified species, 53 of which grow in Mexico, 22 in the USA and Canada, 19 in Australia and the eastern islands, 16 in Europe and 15 in Asia. Some of these species overlap in terms of where they grow, some are endemic to certain areas and conditions.

There is no single feature based on which magic mushrooms can be distinguished from regular ones. They come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, and the only way to truly differentiate them is to know their appearance well, and get experience in mushroom hunting.

A good strategy to start with is to get familiar with the most common species of psychedelic shrooms available in the wild. Here are the top five to get you started off:

1) Psilocybe cubensis and Psilocybe subcubensis

Psilocybe Cubensis in its natural habitat
Alan Rockefeller / CC BY-SA 3.0

Psilocybe cubensis and Psilocybe subcubensis are two species that can be found in tropical zones throughout the world. The former are much more common, and are the most well-known species of magic mushrooms, whereas the latter are not as abundant, but can be found growing in the same areas. Their appearance is also very similar: they are classic stubby-stemmed parasol-shaped mushrooms with predominantly light-to-golden-brownish caps that are bulbous before fruiting, and flat and wide in diameter when fully mature. A certain kind of P. cubensis is known worldwide as the “Golden Teacher”.

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2) Psilocybe semilanceata

picture of Psilocybe semilanceata mushrooms
Psilocybe semilanceata/ Zinnmann / CC BY-SA 3.0

Psilocybe semilanceata might be the most widely available psychedelic shrooms. You are likely to be able to find them if you live in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. They also go by the name “Liberty Caps”, because of their dark bell-shaped tops. Their stems are slim, and can be wavy.

3) Psilocybe cyanescens

image of Psilocybe cyanescens mushrooms
Psilocybe cyanescens / Caleb Brown / CC BY-SA 3.0

Psilocybe cyanescens are quite easily recognized due to their undulating tops. For this reason, they are commonly referred to as “Wavy Caps”. They are among the most potent magic mushrooms in existence, reaching a whopping 1.96% of active compound content by dry weight in North America. They also cover a decent array of latitudes, and can be found on the West Coast of the USA, south of the Bay Area, in Central and Western Europe, New Zealand, and parts of Western Asia.

4) Panaeolus or Copelandia cyanescens

picture of Copelandia cyanescens mushrooms
Copelandia cyanescens / Alan Rockefeller / CC BY-SA 4.0

Also known as the “Hawaiian” shrooms, these are not the most distinct species, with long, slim stems and light brown to light grey caps. However, in terms of their effect, they are up there with the greats. They grow all over the world: in south North America and north South America, Western Europe, Central Africa, South and Southeast Asia and throughout Oceania.

5) Psilocybe azurescens

Psilocybe azurescens
Psilocybe azurescens / shroom360 / CC BY-SA 3.0

Psilocybe azurescens are endemic to the West Coast of the USA, specifically to Oregon and Washington. They earn a spot in the top five for having almost the highest concentration of psilocybin out of any magic mushroom species you can find: up to 1.80%. In addition, they have an incredible amount of baeocystin, which is a chemical analog of psilocybin. Compared to P. cubensis, they can contain up to ten times more of this compound by dry weight, which puts them among the most potent magic mushrooms in existence. They are also quite beautiful shrooms, sporting a slim stem and a convex caramel-colored cap with a conical top.

Want to skip the risk of misidentifying mushrooms in nature?

With Third Wave’s Mushrooms Grow Kit and Course, you know exactly the type of mushrooms you’re harvesting.

Our in-depth guide and step-by-step videos will have you growing your own mushrooms in no time!

Growing magic mushrooms

If you’re not enticed by the prospect of a gathering quest that may result in misidentification-induced poisoning, or if you live in an area where it’s impossible to find magic mushrooms, you’ll be happy to know that there is an accessible alternative: growing shrooms on your own is relatively easy to do! Even better than that: growing mushrooms provides for a year-round supply, enables you to try strains from all over the world, and – the best part – if you live in the US (but not in CA, GA, or ID), buying spores is legal because they don’t yet contain psilocybin or psilocin, the active psychedelic elements. If you live in NM, even growing the mushrooms is legal! Look into our detailed guide on the legality status of mushrooms around the world for more info.

There are two ways to go about it – you can either order an uninoculated grow kit and spores online, or make your own substrate from scratch. The first option is the easier one – if your material came from a reputable vendor and there was no contamination, all it will take from you is to keep the grow kit in a dark and humid place. However, we do recommend that you go DIY with this project – it’s more fun, you learn more from it, and it can yield better results. Luckily, Third Wave has prepared a thorough and easy-to-follow guide on how you can do just this.

Ready to get started growing your own mushrooms from home? Check out Third Waves Grow Kit and Course.

Buy them in countries where they’re legal

Sourcing Psychedelic Substances

A third option would be to consult our psychedelic sourcing video and guide on the international legality of psilocybin. These resources can help you find somewhere to safely and legally buy or otherwise procure, and consume them. Third Wave’s Ultimate Guide to Sourcing Psychedelic Medicines provides tips and resources to source psilocybin in most countries from trusted sellers legally.

If you’re in Europe, you have quite a few choices: the Netherlands, Austria, Czech Republic, Spain, and Portugal. The Netherlands, of course, outlawed psilocybin mushrooms back in 2008, but magic truffles are perfectly legal to purchase and consume. If this piques your interest, be sure to check out our guide to the differences between magic mushrooms and magic truffles. As for the rest of the countries, psilocybin has undergone decriminalization, which means that it’s either alright to possess small amounts for personal use.

If you’re looking to try mushrooms in a structured, legal setting, consider a guided psilocybin retreat in the Netherlands with our trusted partner, Synthesis, or visit our Psychedelic Directory for a complete list of vetted psilocybin retreats worldwide

If you’d prefer to grow mushrooms at home, check out Third Wave’s Mushroom Grow Kit and Course for guidance.

That’s all there is to it. This article should contain enough info to get you started on your mushroom-sourcing venture. Make sure to obey the law and stay safe in your search, and, as always, in your psychonautical endeavors.

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Reader Interactions


  1. AvatarNancy says

    I purchased spores and plugs this year online, made a special “mushroom garden” and because I used a mix of horse and cow manure, I have NO IDEA which mushrooms are the ones I planted or if they are edible or poisonous. I plan on taking some of each to my local agricultural extension office expert to determine the edible from the poisonous ones, but don’t want to end up bringing in a bag of toadstools and magic mushrooms. I have some photos I would like to share if possible of what is growing in abundance. Thank you

  2. AvatarLaura says

    Emailing for a friend who is suffering horribly from depression. 3 months ago he was was able to procure some mushrooms and to our utter amazement, his lifelong depression disappeared. Now 3 months later, it’s back with a vengeance. He lives in Tennessee. Does any one have a suggestion on where to obtain them? Please… and ty so much.

  3. AvatarJudy Eddleman says

    Look for a purple spoor print on white paper where you placed the cap. Then make sure it’s not the poisonous one.

  4. AvatarAlex says

    I took some for the first time last year. Had some severe depression and addictions at the time. It was one of the most amazing moments in my life. I was disgusted with my addictions instantly and mood was great for months too. Unfortunately, it was temporary. I wish I could find some again.

    • AvatarShanin Walker says

      Hi, I’ve heard of this kind of help for severe depression I’ve been suffering from it most of my life I’m 50 now and I’ve never tried mushrooms but I wanted to try them for this purpose could you maybe recommend or suggest any certain type of these mushrooms that are suited best for this it would be greatly appreciated

  5. AvatarMo says

    Hey, I was wondering weather they grow in the mountains in the Middle East and what strains may be in my area. When hunting, would you suggest i go uphill or downhill from my inital starting spot?

    • AvatarMo says

      There are quiete a few natural springs around my idea.. mountains of ajloun In Jordan, anyone with tips or Useful information Pls share

      • AvatarDimitri Elder says

        Question I’m from Tunas, Missouri and I was wondering if their is any psychedelic mushrooms if so can you please give me the name

    • AvatarFrank petruzzi says

      I live ne Pennsylvania and see many in the woods I’m not sure to eat them none seem to turn blue when you pick them.

  6. AvatarGunnar says

    I have found this website extremely helpful in my journey to becoming a happy person. I used to be a boyscout so I am very skilled at identifying different plants. Also another helpful tip is to snort melatonin powder before bed. It will knock you out like a light (like a light aye).

    Ps. does anyone know of any supplements I can take that will help me grow. I am 5′ 6” and I am trying to seduce a woman who is 5′ 10”.

  7. AvatarGiulia says

    Those infos are great, thank you!
    Any further suggestion on where to find spores or fresh mushrooms in Portugal?

    • AvatarMaureen Judge says

      Where can I buy the spores that become psilocybin? I am so interested in trying this magic mushroom for health reasons. Thank you

      • AvatarMarian says

        Giulia, yes, you can buy the spores but the process is tedious and time consuming just to make the medium in which the shrooms will grow. Your best course of action would be to get a pre-made grow kit. Search for (shroom grow kit) and you should find a lot of pages that sell. you just need to find one that delivers where you are.

      • AvatarT1 says

        Mark I’m very interested in all you have to say.please respond.i also struggled with all the same issues..thanks so much.can u contact in need help badly.or can you just post?thanks again..

  8. Avatarmark says

    You need to follow a protocol to conquer your demons. I have struggled with opiate addiction, excessive drinking, plenty of party drugs when much younger. I am now in the evening of my life with more to do and a burning desire for the ultimate comeback to greatness. A wife and family that have watched me slip away from chronic spinal pain and want their Champion back. My eyes water as I share this at this very moment…….it is possible. I am relearning and reprogramming my heart and head to master gaining control again. Years of fighting depression, and chronic pain turned me loose without staying on point.

    Conclusion……After growing my own, I have developed a prescription that will heal you from whatever ails you. It is guaranteed to work. A life of happiness is possible again. I’m on my way there now…..won’t you join me?

    • AvatarDebra Johnson says

      I would love your information on how to do all of this. I am happy for you and would love to feel like hat happiness.

    • AvatarSteve says

      Hi Mark, I live in southern Louisiana which is a relatively good area for the growth of mushrooms. I don’t want to buy a kit online for many reasons, I am going to start just by merely investigating the ones that are basically around my yard. Heck thats free! Well, does the purple strain have to be present? And what are a telltale sign of a deadly mushroom? I suffer from chronic back pain and opioid addiction, alcoholism, etc…some of which I have contained and feel like I can make the next step. Any help is greatly appreciated.

    • AvatarNancy says

      Yes please. I suffer from PTSD, depression and unresolved grief. I find MDMA really helps but I’ve researched these mushrooms and very much prefer a natural alternative. I have no contacts to converse and purchase from. Any information is greatly appreciated. Thank You 😊

  9. AvatarSweet Sara says

    @mark..Way to go! Could you share what dose/type/when/how you take? And any other recommendations for someone just like you.
    Thanks man,

  10. AvatarRonda says

    Awesome post! I live in new Zealand but haven’t found my own yet here though I’ve sampled the Subaeruginosa, it is great. This is going to be a big help.

  11. AvatarSamantha says

    Thank you for sharing and spreading awareness! I hope that this magical plant would not be abused and misused. Everything, if used properly and moderately proves to be beneficial. I hope this could be the future treatment of a lot of diseases. It has endless capabilities!

  12. AvatarSamantha says

    I found some under a log at the edge of a stream looks very like the liberties but doesn’t have the little nipple on the top so they all need to have the bump at the top I have pictures

  13. AvatarMark says

    Sorry Greg and sweet Sarah ……forgot to check back in here………I would be happy to share my thoughts in private😎. Just finished a 90 day aggressive regiment of dosing. Exceptional results. Exploring the possibility of being a guided teacher for those who need assistance…..not sure how to connect with you offline ….prefer to be respectful to 3rd wave and not cross the line with discussion content here…….

    • AvatarCarly says

      Mark, please share the the knowledge and wisdom you have attained!! Looking to help myself & husband find a reasonable, attainable and peaceful existence in this dark place, near rock bottom life of addiction. My husband has also suffered from miserable pain. Broke his back years ago falling off a scaffolding at work. If you would so kindly, just help me find a starting point that comes from an educated and experienced shroomer. 🙇😊🙏. Thank you either way and God speed buddy.

    • AvatarNiki p says

      Hi just found these growing not far from home, been researching try to figure out how to identify if they are psychedelic but still uncertain. Hoping to find someone who I can show a few picks to who might actually know….!?

  14. AvatarRandy Albright says

    Way to go bro. Sharing the knowledge is the kind approach. Too many heads are keeping secrets when they need to share what they know especially with kits available. Drop acid not bombs. Well not acid not reliable anymore but the holistic method respects the process by connecting with nature through a natural substance that is probably the reason for our abilities in the animal kingdom. Rambling here….
    Thanks again brother 🖕 jk✌️

      • AvatarKVG says

        Dear Steve, Hi. I feel your situation is really frustrating, I was a Heroin, pill, booze addict for decades with a lifetime of mental illness. It sucks, but your not alone. Its very very important to know your mycology! I’ve never stumbled upon psychedelic shrooms in the humid south during the best season while hiking in perfect areas for the huge range of all fungi, and with a person who is an actual Mycologists. This person showed me how very serious you have to be to grow your own, let alone go foraging, there’s endless species and as far as I know the special 🍄 ones always turn- bleed a blue liquid at harvest time, and a reputable spore seller is so important. Beware of Fly Agaric, it isnt recommended by my friend. Growing is the way to go, due to we’re you live, but a class A Felony if caught growing them!🙄 Stupid legal stuff, I know. I would check out Reddit, get to reading, Paul Stamen is a great mycologists. My friend says patience, sterilization, airflow, humidity…? Is hard but then they start Fruiting and he says it’s like watching babies grow fast! Hope you have success, and I wish I could do it without fear. Peace

  15. AvatarJeff says

    For those of you interested in finding wild shrooms be very careful,,,most all shrooms have a poisonous look ah like, just because it bruises blue does not mean it’s a shroom.some poisonous verities bruise blue also… always identify by spore print.. also do not eat them fresh out of a field or forest,there is a few parasites that can make you very sick and there is a parasite that infects slugs and snails that you could ingest and it will kill you and could take years for you to die.. horrible way to go ..anyway be very your homework,study what you find with no intention of ever consuming what you find until your 100% certain you are correct with your identification..



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