best magic mushroom strains

Guide to Magic Mushroom Strains

Approximately 14,000 mushroom species have been described around the world today. Of these 14,000, just over 180 of these mushrooms are psychoactive (that is, contain psilocybin). In this article, we’ll highlight the most common magic mushroom strains and species. As we’ll see, each species differs significantly in its appearance, distribution, habitat, potency, and potential dangers.

What are Magic Mushroom Strains?

By and large, the majority of psilocybin mushroom species are concentrated in the Psilocybe genus, which contains approximately 117 species. Psilocybin mushrooms are also found in several other genera, including:

  • Gymnopilus (13 species)
  • Panaeolus (7 species)
  • Copelandia (12 species)
  • Hypholoma (6 species)
  • Pluteus (6 species)
  • Inocybe (6 species)
  • Conocybe (4 species)
  • Agrocybe (1 species)
  • Galerina (1 species)
  • Mycena (1 species)

The magic mushrooms belonging to these genera are mostly found in tropical and subtropical fields and forests. Broadly speaking, they can be found on every inhabitable continent in a large variety of habitats, from the urban lawn to the most humid of jungles.

Each species will give rise to its own distinct shroom trip, due to its unique genetics and alkaloidal profile. Further, the potency can vary from batch to batch within the same species. This is partly due to differences in growing conditions. Taken together, all magic mushroom species contain varying levels of psilocybin, psilocin, baeocystin, and norbaeocystin.

Mycologists have characterized and genetically isolated hundreds of subspecies, or “strains.” Most magic mushroom strains are different varieties of Psilocybe cubensis, the so-called “commercial Psilocybe.” This is because P. cubensis is by far the most commonly cultivated species. As a result, dozens of unique strains have come about over the years. Many psychonauts claim that “a cube is a cube” in terms of their effects. However, these strains can vary in their potency, appearance, growing requirements, and overall yields.

Most Popular Magic Mushroom Strains

In this section, we will overview the most popular magic mushroom strains and species, with a particular focus on Psilocybe species.

Panaeolus cyanescens (Blue Meanies)

Also known as Copelandia cyanescens, Panaeolus cyanescens is a potent psilocybin mushroom originating in Asia. In addition to the moniker of Blue Meanies, they’re also known as Hawaiian magic mushrooms. This is because they grow abundantly on the island as a result of frequent rain and habitable cattle pastures.


P. cyanescens has a convex cap that’s initially light brown, lightening to gray or off-white at maturity. The center of the cap remains yellowish-brown into old age. The pale-yellowish stem is 8.5–11.5 cm long. Like many Psilocybe species, both the stem and flesh bruise bluish because of its high psilocin content.

Where It’s Grown

Similar to P. cubensis, P. cyanescens is a dung-loving species that is found in pastures and fields. In the United States, P. cyanescens grows in California, Hawaii, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas. Worldwide, it is found in tropical and subtropical regions, including Mexico, Central Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Central Africa, and Southeast Asia.

Common Effects and Strength

According to the mycologist Paul Stamets in his book Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World, Panaeolus cyanescens is considered “moderately potent.” One study from 1992 analyzed the psilocybin and psilocin content of P. cyanescens gathered from five locations around the world. It found, on average, 0.012–0.73% psilocybin and 0.025–1.30% psilocin. This mushroom produces a strongly visual trip with deep euphoria and a clear head space.

Potential Dangers

Frequent use has been reported to cause a painful red rash around the neck, possibly from the urea content. In addition, large doses may result in loss of voluntary muscle function, which can produce panic in some users.

Psilocybe cubensis (Cubes)

Psilocybe cubensis, known commonly as cubes and gold cap shrooms, is the most well-known psilocybin-containing mushroom. The species was originally discovered in Cuba and later popularized by Terence McKenna, who called it the “starborn magic mushroom.” Dozens of P. cubensis strains are marketed today. Some of the most popular include B+, Golden Teachers, and Penis Envy.


P. cubensis has a reddish-brown cap that is convex and bulbous when young. The cap becomes flat with age and lightens to a light brown color. The stems can grow up to 20 cm (8 inches) long, making it the largest psilocybe species. Like the cap, the stem will bruise bluish when injured.

Where It’s Grown

P. cubensis is widely distributed in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. It’s found in the southeastern United States growing on the dung of cattle and also in well-manured land. Around the world, it’s found in Central and South America, Mexico, Cuba, and parts of Asia and Australia. Since it’s forgiving of suboptimal growing conditions and gives great yields, it is the most commonly cultivated psilocybin mushroom.

Common Effects and Strength

Cubes are moderately potent, containing 0.14–0.42% psilocin and 0.37–1.30% psilocybin in the whole mushroom. Regardless of the specific magic mushroom strain, it can generate a full-spectrum psilocybin experience consisting of synesthesia, time distortion, closed and open eye visuals, euphoria, and heightened emotions.

Potential Dangers

As is true for all other Psilocybes, set and setting is paramount to a good experience with gold caps. Also, although the spores are legal for “microscopy purposes,” cultivating your own cubes may carry significant legal risks.

Psilocybe azurescens (Flying Saucer)

Also known as Flying Saucers or Azzies, P. azurescens is the strongest psilocybin-containing mushroom that grows in the wild. Reportedly, the species was first found by Boy Scouts while they were camping in Oregon in 1979. It was formally discovered and named by Paul Stamets.


P. azurescens has a caramel-colored cap that’s initially convex but expands to be flat with age. In the middle of the cap is a pronounced nipple-like umbo. Its white stem can grow to be up to 20 cm long, making it one of the largest Psilocybes. Another indicator you’re in the presence of P. azurescens is its very strong bluing reaction. The flesh will bruise a very dark bluish-black when damaged.

Where It’s Grown

While commonly cultivated in many parts of the world, you can find “Azzies” in the wild on the west coast of the United States. This includes parts of Oregon, Washington, and northern California. They’re particularly widespread along the northern Oregon coast near Astoria. Their preferred habitats are decaying wood chips, dune grasses, and sandy coastal soils. Being fairly temperature resistant, they’ll start fruiting in late September and can be found as late as January.

Common Effects and Strength

P. azurescens is extremely potent, up to three times as potent as P. cubensis. According to Stamets, it contains up to 1.78% psilocybin, .38% psilocin and .35% baeocystin. Owing to its high levels of psilocybin, they’re known to retain potency for long periods of time, even after months of storage. In terms of effects, just one dried gram can be an intense entheogenic experience. For this reason, it is a popular microdosing species because so little is needed for the benefits.

Potential Dangers

P. azurescens is known to have the undesirable side effect of creating temporary paralysis. This effect can last into the next day, which may cause anxiety and paranoia. It’s best to start with a low dose to gauge Azzie’s effects, or you may be in for an unexpectedly intense experience. In Michael Pollan’s book How to Change Your Mind, Stamets tells Pollan, “I find azzies almost too strong.”

Psilocybe caerulescens (Landslide Mushrooms)

In 1923, Landslide Mushrooms (known as derrumbe in Spanish) were first discovered growing on sugarcane mulch near Montgomery, Alabama. However, the human use of these shrooms extends far back beyond the 20th century. This species was used by the Aztecs for its entheogenic effects, and more recently by the Mazatec in southern Mexico. P. caerulescens was the magic mushroom strain given to R. Gordon Wasson by the famous Mazatec shaman Maria Sabina, an experience he later wrote about in Life Magazine.


P. caerulescens has a convex cap that can vary in color from yellowish-brown to reddish-brown. Its cap color lightens around the margins. In addition to its bluing reaction, it has a unique silvery-blue metallic luster that can help in its identification. These mushrooms are on the shorter side, with a stem between 4–12 cm long.

Where It’s Grown

In the United States, you can find this mushroom in southern states like Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. It also grows throughout central regions of Mexico, Venezuela, and Brazil. The mushrooms usually fruit in clusters from late spring to early summer. They typically prefer soil with woody debris, where there aren’t any plants around.

Common Effects and Strength

Landslide mushrooms have a low-to-moderate potency, making them an ideal species for unseasoned mushroom voyagers. The main effects typically last 3–6 hours and produce euphoria, open and closed eye visuals, time distortion, and altered perspective.

Potential Dangers

Like other Psilocybes, this species has the potential to create negative effects such as panic attacks, paranoia, anxiety, and nausea. Despite its lower-than-average potency, set and setting still very much determines the trip quality.

Psilocybe caerulipes (Blue Foot Mushroom)

P. caerulipes is widely distributed, but is still considered a rare psilocybin mushroom. It is known commonly as the Blue Foot mushroom because of the bluish hues at the base of its stem. Although growers cultivate this species, the spores are reportedly difficult to acquire.


P. caerulipes is one of the smaller psilocybin mushrooms, with a stem length of only 3–6 cm. It has a cinnamon-brown cap that is convex to plane with a slight umbo. The flesh shows a mild bluing reaction which can take a few hours to appear.

Where It’s Grown

You can find this species in the midwestern and eastern US. It grows as far north as Nova Scotia, Canada, and as far south as North Carolina. It fruits from May to December in deciduous forests, usually around decaying hardwood logs and woody debris along river systems.

Common Effects and Strength

Although its small size may suggest otherwise, P. caerulipes is about as potent as the much larger P. cubensis. Its potency is known to vary widely among samples, so it’s best to start small—just 1–3 g could be a strong experience.

Potential Dangers

The potential dangers, apart from psychological precautions, are related to identification in the wild. These mushrooms can be confused with other LBMs, or “little brown mushrooms.” Some of the non-Psilocybe LBMs can be poisonous—or even deadly.

Psilocybe cyanescens (Wavy Caps)

P. Cyanescens, known commonly as Blue Halos and Cyans, is a potent psilocybin mushroom first described in the 20th century by a British mycologist named Elsie Maud Wakefield. The species name cyanescens means “turning blue,” indicating its strong bluing reaction.


This mushroom has an undulating cap margin, hence its common name. The cap is chestnut-brown when young, and becomes caramel-colored as it matures. The white stem is 2–8 cm long and bruises a deep bluish color.

Where It’s Grown

P. cyanescens grow abundantly in the Pacific Northwest, particularly in the fall or early winter when the temperatures drop to 50–65°F. Along the west coast, it grows as far south as San Francisco, and as far north as Alaska. Around the world, it grows in temperate regions of Europe, including the UK, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Sweden. In addition, you can find it in New Zealand and parts of West Asia.

This species grows in large clusters, preferring to feed on decomposing forest matter. It prefers wood chips, sawdust, and debris fields littered with rotting wood. According to Stamets, it also grows under mixed woods at the edges of lawns, along wood chip trails, and in heavily mulched gardens in urban areas.

Common Effects and Strength

P. cyanescens is highly potent; in fact, it’s commonly known as the “potent Psilocybe.” It has a maximum of 1.68% psilocybin and 0.28% psilocin. Many people report needing half the dosage of what they normally take of P. cubensis. “Cyans” produce a trip that is highly visionary, euphoric, and introspective.

Potential Dangers

There are some dangerous lookalikes that can make gathering in the wild risky without an experienced mycologist. This includes Pholiotina rugosa and Galerina marginata, both of which contain deadly amatoxins.

Psilocybe semilanceata (Liberty Caps)

The magic mushroom strain P. semilanceata is one of the most widely distributed Psilocybes. It is also responsible for one of the earliest recorded psilocybin mushroom trips. In 1799, a family in London accidentally prepared an entheogenic meal with mushrooms they’d collected in London’s Green Park.


Liberty Caps closely resemble both P. strictipes and P. mexicana. They have a bell-shaped cap with a pronounced umbo. The cap color ranges from chestnut brown (when moist) to light tan or yellow (when dry). Often, it has an olive tint that can help identify it. At just 4–10 cm long, the stem is small and slender. Both the stem and flesh rarely bruise bluish, since this species has low levels of psilocin.

Where It’s Grown

You can find this species growing alone or in tight groups in pastures, fields, lawns, and grassy areas in general. Rather than dung, this mushroom’s mycelium feeds off decaying grassroots. Liberty caps have a wide distribution, as they grow in at least 17 countries. On the west coast, you can find them growing from northern California to British Columbia, usually in the fall or early winter. In other parts of the world, they grow in temperate grassland habitats. You can find them distributed over a handful of European countries, Chile, northern India, and South Africa. P. semilenceata also grows in a few oceanic countries, including Australia and New Zealand.

Common Effects and Strength

Liberty Caps are highly potent—the 4th most potent entheogenic mushroom, according to Stamets, who did a potency analysis of 12 popular Psilocybes. The mycologist and chemist, Jochen Gartz, reported 1% psilocybin on average, with a range of .2–2.37%. Cultivated Liberty Caps have less psilocybin, up to 1.12%, and no psilocin. You can expect a full-fledged trip with Liberty Caps, including visual distortions and hallucinations, euphoria, and deep spiritual journeys.

Potential Dangers

To the untrained eye, P. semilanceata looks similar to several poisonous species—in particular, the deadly Galerina species, which can coexist in similar habitats. It also resembles Inocybe geiophylla, a toxic species that contains muscarine.

Psilocybe mexicana (Teonanacatl)

P. mexicana is a magic mushroom strain that has a deep history that dates back several millennia. The Aztecs used this species ceremonially before the Spanish conquered the empire. The Aztecs referred to them as teonanacatl, or “flesh of the gods.” In modern times, this was the species that Roger Heim, the French botanist, sent to Albert Hofmann, from which Hofmann then isolated and named the compounds psilocybin and psilocin. Today, they’re commonly known in Mexico as pajaritos, meaning “little birds.”


Stamets refer to this species as the “Mexicana liberty cap,” since it looks very similar to P. semilanceata. The bell-shaped cap often has rippled edges that fold inward toward the margins. The cap is brownish to deep orangish-brown, usually with a slight umbo. The hollow and pale yellow stem is 4–12.5 cm long. Like the flesh, it bruises bluish when injured.

Where It’s Grown

This species is found at high elevations (1000–1800m) in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Florida. It grows alone or in small groups, usually in humid meadows, moss, deciduous forests, and soils rich in manure. In the wild, it fruits from May to October, but it’s also easily cultivated indoors.

Common Effects and Strength

P. mexicana is considered moderately potent. It will produce a euphoric, light visual trip ideal for self-discovery. When Heim and Hofmann analyzed its potency, they detected 0.25% psilocybin and 0.15% psilocin. However, its potency is known to vary widely, depending on growing and storage conditions. This species also grows sclerotia (truffles), which are less potent than the mushrooms.

Potential Dangers

Like other Psilocybes, the main dangers in vulnerable individuals are psychological in nature. Avoid P. mexicana if you have a history of severe mental illness or are taking antidepressants.

Psilocybe stuntzii (Blue Ringer Mushroom)

P. stuntzii, also known as “Stuntz’s Blue Legs,” were named after the mycologist Daniel Stuntz. Stunz originally found this rare species growing on the University of Washington campus.


P. stuntzii can be identified from its whitish partial veil that bruises bluish, and its dark chestnut brown cap. The cap margin is sometimes spotted with an olive green tinge. The yellowish stem is 3–6 cm long and also bruises bluish.

Where It’s Grown

P. stuntzii is distributed mostly in the western region of the Pacific Northwest. This includes parts of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, “within 90 kilometers of coastal regions,” according to Stamets. It fruits from late summer until first frost, but it can be spotted year-round in the Seattle area. It typically grows in big clusters in wood chips and bark mulch, as well as in soils rich in woody debris. According to Stamets, they also grow in newly placed lawns and fields, along roads, and in gardens.

Common Effects and Strength

P. stuntzii is considered weak to moderately potent, but it’s still capable of producing a typical psilocybin experience. In 1982, Beug and Bigwood reported a psilocybin content of 0–.36% psilocybin and psilocin content of 0-0.12%.

Potential Dangers

Take special care when collecting this species in the wild. P. stuntzii closely resembles the deadly poisonous Galerina marginata. Several inexperienced collectors were poisoned from mistaking P. stuntzii for this species. Galerina is differentiated by its orangish-brown cap and rusty brown spores.

Psilocybe tampanensis (Philosopher’s Stone, Magic Truffles)

The species name Psilocybe tampanensis reflects where it was originally discovered in the 1970s, near Tampa, Florida, by the American mycologist Steven Hayden Pollock. Interestingly, all cultivated P. tampanensis trace back to a single culture he formed from a wild specimen that he’d collected in Florida. This species produces the famous magic truffles from its underground sclerotia. These are sold legally in the Netherlands in specialty shops as a result of a legal loophole.


The yellow-brown cap is convex, expanding to be flat with maturity. The stem stands at just 2–6 cm tall, and bruises bluish. P. tampanensis has a taste and odor similar to freshly ground flour.

Where It’s Grown

P. tampanensis is a very rare psilocybin mushroom. This species has been collected in the wild only a few times, and so it survives through cultivation. It was originally found in Florida and later reported in Mississippi.

Common Effects and Strength

Philosopher’s Stone has a moderate potency, containing 0.68% psilocybin and 0.32% psilocin. The name aptly describes the effects, which are characterized by profound introspection, creative thinking, and philosophical insight. In terms of physical effects, it’s known for having a heavier body load and more nausea compared to other psilocybin mushrooms.

Potential Dangers

The potential dangers of Philosopher’s Stone apply to all magic mushroom strains: be mindful of set and setting, and do not use them if you are taking certain medications or have a severe mental illness.

Disclaimer: Psilocybin mushrooms strains are potentially categorized as an illegal drug. Reality Sandwich is not encouraging the use or making of this drug where it is prohibited. However, we believe that providing information is imperative for the safety of those who choose to explore this substance. This guide is intended to give educational content and should in no way be viewed as medical recommendations.

Contributing RS Author: Dylan Beard

Dylan is a freelance science writer and editor based in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. After finishing his physics degree and dabbling in neuroscience research at UC Santa Barbara in 2017, he returned to his first love—writing. As a long-term fan of the human brain, he loves exploring the latest research on psychedelics, nootropics, psychology, consciousness, meditation, and more. When not writing, you can probably find him on hiking trails around Oregon and Washington or listening to podcasts. Feel free to follow him on Insta @dylancb88

Are there different types of psilocybin? Read our guide to learn about the different magic mushroom strains and their individual effects.

Beyond Psilocybe Cubensis: 10 Magic Mushroom Species You Should Know About

Michelle Janikian // April 6, 2020

DoubleBlind is devoted to fair, rigorous reporting by leading experts and journalists in the field of psychedelics. Read more about our editorial process and fact-checking here. Editorially reviewed by Madison Margolin.

Psilocybe cubensis

Magic mushrooms are so incredible and mysterious, from the beautiful experiences they occasion to the mystical compounds that they naturally produce. But what’s even more mindblowing is that there are over 180 different species of mushrooms that grow wildly around the globe—and which all contain psilocybin. Not to mention, some species have dozens of different strains with their own signature shape, flavor, and trip (we’re looking at you, Psilocybe cubensis!). So let’s explore 10 of the most common and widespread magic mushrooms (which also happen to be our favorites), but remember, we’re just scratching the surface!

If you’ve eaten psilocybin mushrooms, but had no idea what species it was, chances are it was a strain of Psilocybe cubensis. That’s because “cubes” are the easiest magic mushroom to cultivate indoors, and since the 1970s, there have been a few pivotal books teaching hobby growers how to do so, including Terence and Dennis McKenna’s, Psilocybin: The Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide. In fact, due to decades of selective home breeding, there are now 60 different strains of P. cubensis, like Golden Teachers, B+, Penis Envy, and Pink Buffalo. In clinical trials looking at the potential of psilocybin to treat mental health conditions, subjects actually receive isolated, synthetic psilocybin, rather than the whole mushroom, so we don’t actually have any rigorous data on the differences between all the magic mushrooms for healing purposes.

While different strains of cubensis can also be found in the wild all over the world, the indoor-grown types are typically more potent. That’s one of the reasons that mushrooms you buy on the underground market are often stronger than the ones you pick in nature, since they’ve been bred for strength and are grown in specific substrates (the material in which you grow mushrooms) that increase potency.

However, you can find cubensis growing throughout the southern US, into Mexico, Central American and South America. They also grow in Cuba, India, Southeast Asia, and Australia. In nature, they prefer to live on dung and can also be found on well-manured land in the spring, summer, and fall.

In mycologist Paul Stamets’ mushroom identification guide, Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World, he calls P. cubensis “the most majestic of the Psilocybes” because of their easy-to-recognize size and golden color. Like all Psilocybes, P. cubensis’ color depends on its level of hydration; they also turn a bluish color when handled due to psilocin oxidizing (basically being exposed to oxygen). Cubensis is distinct from other Psilocybe species because of its relatively large size and the way the mushroom’s cap widens with maturity. Overall, this is the most famous and widely consumed magic mushroom in existence, but it’s not the only one.

Psilocybe semilanceata (Liberty Caps)

Psilocybe semilanceata, also known as Liberty Caps, are considered the most widespread naturally growing psilocybin mushroom in the world, according to Psilopedia. Not only that, but they’re also the third most potent, according to tests done in 1997 by Paul Stamets and Jochen Gartz, a German chemist and mycologist.

Identified in 1838, P. semilanceata was the first psilocybin mushroom native to Europe to be formally recognized. This species is still wildly popular and abundant, especially in England, where the first report of a family tripping out on them appeared in print: In London, 1799, a family reportedly picked and ate wild mushrooms growing in Green Park, which caused one son to laugh uncontrollably, the father to believe he was dying, and most family members to have vertigo.

Liberty caps, also known as Witch’s Hats, grow wildly all over the Northern Hemisphere. They prefer rich and acidic soil, like grasslands, meadows, pastures, and lawns, especially ones fertilized with sheep or cow manure. Because this is such a common environment around the world (think lawns, gardens, soccer fields), they grow in many countries throughout Europe, including France, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, Finland, Iceland, Russia, and Turkey. They also grow in North America, on the West Coast from California to British Columbia in the fall to early winter, and to a lesser extent on the East Coast from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia, Canada. Plus, some varieties are known to grow in the Southern Hemisphere, too, in Chile and New Zealand.

Liberty caps are small and can blend in with the grass because their stems are only 40 to 100 mm (1.5 to 4 in) long. In fact, they’re the smallest of the top few most potent psilocybin mushrooms. They have a conical or bell-shaped cap, hence their name, and they reportedly taste similar to flour.

Although they grow all over the world, they’re very difficult to cultivate indoors, so most Liberty Caps that are consumed are picked in the wild. But be careful when identifying because they can easily be confused with a few similar looking poisonous species that grow in the same areas.

Psilocybe azurescens (Flying Saucer Mushrooms)

P. azurescens, also known as Flying Saucers, Blue Runners, Blue Angels, or Azzies, are the strongest psilocybin species that grows in the wild. As the story goes, they were originally found by Boy Scouts camping in Oregon in 1979, but weren’t an official species until Paul Stamets identified them in 1996 and published his findings.

Azurescens are only found on the West coast of the U.S. from California to Washington, and mostly cluster near the Columbia River delta in Oregon. That’s because they prefer to live in sandy soils, such as near dunes and sea grasses, and on loose, decaying wood. They can even withstand pretty chilly temperatures compared to other psilocybin containing mushrooms, from 16 to 24° C (60 – 75° F). Fortunately, that also makes Azzies easy to cultivate outside for home growers in the U.S. and Europe. Unfortunately, though, they apparently taste very bitter.

Psilocybe azurescens have some of the highest percentages of psilocybin (up to 1.78 percent), psilocin (0.38 percent), and baeocystin (0.35 percent), which is three to four times more than p. cubensis or p. semilanceata. Therefore, one dried gram could be a potent dose, so psilonauts should tread lightly with these extra powerful fungi.

Not to mention, there is also a potential side effect of paralysis after ingesting higher doses. Although only temporary, it can be an anxiety-inducing experience if you’re not prepared. However, flying saucers—named for their unique UFO-like shape—are known for their intense visuals and profound inner journeys. Their potent strength also makes them popular for microdosing according to strain database Psillow, and you would need very little for intended effects.

Psilocybe tampanensis (Magic Truffles, Philosopher’s Stone)

Psilocybin tampanensis produces truffles, or “sclerotia,” which contain psilocybin. These truffles are often called philosopher’s stones, magic truffles, or psilocybin truffles. P. tampanensis can also fruit into small yellow-brown mushrooms with conic caps, but most folks just grow and eat their sclerotia, which grow underground and contain up to 0.68 percent psilocybin and 0.32 percent psilocin, according to Stamets’ book.

These are the type of psilocybin mushrooms that are sold at specialty shops and given at magic truffle retreats in the Netherlands through a legal loophole. Although philosopher’s stones were first discovered near Tampa, Florida in 1977, they haven’t been found in the sunshine state since. In fact, they are very rare to find in the wild, but have become popular for home cultivators due to their relative ease of growing.

The experience of magic truffles in comparison to other psilocybin-containing mushrooms is said to be very similar, but depending on the dose, somewhat less intense. That said, it’s also been reported that the body load can be heavier and nausea more common due to the dense nature of the “stones.” Like all magic mushrooms, the trip itself really depends more on the person, their experience, the dose, and of course, the set and setting in which they were consumed. (You can learn more how to take shrooms in our guide, and if you’d like to go even deeper, we have a class that will walk you through every step of preparing for and navigating your shroom trip.)

Psilocybe cyanescens (Wavy Caps)

Psilocybe cyanescens is known as the Wavy Cap mushroom because of the rippled shape of its cap. It was first formally identified by Elsie Wakefield in England in 1946, although according to Psilopedia, she had been collecting Cyans since 1910.

They’re believed to be native to Central Europe and the Pacific Northwest, but it’s hard to tell because they are now one of the most widespread wild psilocybin-containing mushrooms in the world. That’s because of the environment they prefer: woody debris, like the wood chips and mulch that populate gardens, trails, and parks. In fact, that’s how P. cyanescens is thought to have spread internationally, from lumber and other mulch production and distribution centers to gardens around the globe.

While they’re tough to grow indoors, they’re wildly popular with mushroom identifiers because of their strength. Wavy caps are known to be potent and can contain between 0.3 percent to 1.68 percent psilocybin, 0.28 percent to 0.51 percent psilocin, and 0.02 percent to 0.03 percent baeocystin, according to Stamets. When they’re found in the wild, they can be in enormous patches, and are stronger when eaten fresh, although still produce substantial effects when dried.

Copelandia cyanescens a.k.a. Panaeolus cyanescens (Blue Meanies)

Panaeolus cyanescens or Copelandia cyanescens are sometimes referred to as “Blue Meanies,” which can be confusing because there is also a strain of Psilocybe cubensis called Blue Meanies. However these mushrooms are different in a few ways. For one, these are the first species of mushroom we’ve listed that isn’t part of the Psilocybe genus, but instead, Panaeolus. Yet that doesn’t mean they aren’t magic. In fact, these shroomies are some of the strongest in the world, with two to three times the amount of psilocybin and psilocin than good ‘ol cubensis.

Copelandia cyanescens prefer to live in dung in pastures and fields in warmer, subtropical climates. Therefore, they can be found in the states of Hawaii, Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi, but they can also be found abroad in the Caribbean (including Jamaica, Bermuda, and Trinidad), Costa Rica, Mexico, South America, and even Australia, Africa (including South Africa and Madagascar), Thailand, Japan, New Zealand, and Europe (including France and Spain). Panaeolus cyanescens is very similar to Panaeolus tropicalis, which also contains psilocybin and grows in similar dung-loving environments.

Psilocybe caerulescens (Landslide Mushrooms, Derrumbes)

Psilocybe caerulescens are known as “Derrumbes” (meaning “Landslide Mushrooms”) in Mexico, where they grow naturally. They were first reported by the scientific community near Montgomery, Alabama, in 1923 on sugar cane mulch, and to this day, can be found in the Southern US in states like South Carolina and Georgia. But Psilocybe caerulescens became famous when curandera Maria Sabina gave mycologist Gordon Wasson thirteen pairs during a Mazatec ritual velada ceremony, which Wasson then wrote about for Life Magazine, when the term “magic mushroom” was born.

Derrumbes are still used ceremoniously by the Mazatec people of Oaxaca, Mexico, and continue to grow in the Sierra Madre mountain range. That’s because they are resilient to the low temperatures and high altitudes of those regions, and because they prefer to live in the former sites of landslides and other regions free of plants during the Mexican rainy season (May/June until September/October). They’ve been cultivated outside for centuries, and according to Stamets, can also be found growing in Venezuela and Brazil.

Derrumbes are small, with stems ranging from 40 to 120 mm (1.5 to 4 in), and have a silvery-blue metallic luster that makes them easy to differentiate from other species, according to Psillow. Their potency is low to moderate, and the trip can even be a bit shorter, lasting from three to six hours. They’re a good introduction to magic mushrooms for this reason, but can also be a disappointment to those with Psilocybe cubensis experience who travel to Mexico to try them.

Psilocybe mexicana (Teonanacatl, Pajaritos)

Psilocybe mexicana has a rich history. It’s believed that this is the species of mushroom that the Nahuatl or Aztec people used ceremoniously and called “Teonanacatl,” meaning “flesh of the Gods,” before Spanish colonization. P. mexicana is also the species that French botanist Roger Heim sent to Albert Hoffman in 1958. Hoffman, the chemist who discovered LSD, used that sample to cultivate more magic mushrooms and isolate psilocybin and psilocin for the first time in a lab.

Psilocybe mexicana still grows to this day in Mexico during the rainy season, especially in the states of Oaxaca, Michoacán, Puebla, and others. The species is common at altitudes between 1000 and 1800 meters (3280 to 5900 feet), and prefers to live in moss, meadows, deciduous forests, and soils rich in manure, as well as alongside roads and trails—but never directly on dung.

In Mexico today they’re often called “Pajaritos” meaning “little birds” for packing such a potent experience into such a small, fragile mushroom. Because they somewhat look like Liberty Caps and live in similar environments, Paul Stamets has taken to calling them “Mexicana Liberty Caps.” They can also grow truffles or sclerotia, which contain both psilocybin and psilocin. (Although, their fruiting bodies generally contain more psilocybin, psilocin, and baeocystin according to Psillow.)

Psilocybe caerulipes (Blue Foot Mushroom)

Psilocybe caerulipes, also known as the Blue Foot Mushroom, is a rare psilocybin mushroom that grows in the US. It’s a wood loving mushroom and can be found growing on or around decaying hardwood logs, “especially near river systems,” writes Stamets. They can also be found growing on hardwood slash and debris, and are “widely distributed” east of the Great Plains throughout the Midwest and the Eastern US and up to Canada. “Although widely distributed, P. caerulipes is not found frequently,” writes Stamets. But when they grow on forest floors after warm summer and fall rains, they’re known to fruit in the same place for years.

Blue Foot mushrooms are named for their appearance: They have a blue-hue at the base of their stem. They are a moderately potent psilocybin mushroom, roughly the same strength as Psilocybe cubensis. Psillow warns that the experience could possibly be strong, so start small with one to three grams of dried mushrooms before diving into headier experiences.

Psilocybe stuntzii (Blue Ringer Mushroom, Stuntz’s Blue Legs)

Psilocybe stuntzii is a rare psilocybin mushroom that only grows in the West Coast of the US and Canada. It was first found on the University of Washington’s campus and named for Dr. Daniel Stuntz, who made the first type collection. Their nicknames “blue ringer” or “blue legs” come from the significant bluing reaction that occurs when handled.

Blue Ringers are also wood loving mushrooms and prefer to live on decaying debris, fresh mulch and wood chips. They can be found in grassy areas, as well, like fresh sod and well-manicured lawns, or along roads, paths, and gardens, according to Stamets. He also says that these mushrooms can fruit in “prodigious colonies” within 90 kilometers (56 miles) of Oregon’s , Washington’s, and British Columbia’s coastal regions. However, be warned that Blue Ringers look very similar to a toxic species of mushroom, Galerina marginata. Psillow writes that P. stuntzii will be sticky to the touch when moist, unlike G. marginata, and Stamets writes that Galerina’s orangish brown cap and rusty brown spores distinguish it. Always be careful when collecting mushrooms and never ingest something you can’t absolutely identify.

Michelle Janikian is a journalist and the author of Your Psilocybin Mushroom Companion, the down-to-earth guide that details everything you need to know about taking magic mushrooms safely and mindfully, published by Ulysses Press. Michelle actively covers psychedelic and cannabis education, harm reduction, and research in her work. She writes a column for Playboy about psychedelics and cannabis, and has also contributed to Rolling Stone, High Times, Psychedelics Today, Herb, and others. She’s passionate about the healing potential of psychedelic plants and substances, and the legalization and destigmatization of all drugs. Born in New York City and raised in New Jersey, Michelle studied writing and psychology at Sarah Lawrence College before traveling extensively in Latin America and eventually settling down in Southern Mexico. Michelle was recently awarded the Cosmic Sister Emerging Voices Award for her work covering the psychedelic renaissance. When she’s not writing or speaking publicly about the magic of mushrooms, she can be found wandering the woods with her two rescue dogs or enjoying her third cup of coffee with a good book. You can read more about Michelle’s drug policy reporting on her LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

We have a small favor to ask. In 2020, more than five million readers like you visited DoubleBlind’s website. Many of them are suffering and simply seeking trusted information on how to use psychedelics to heal.

We started DoubleBlind two years ago at a time when even the largest magazines and media companies were cutting staff and going out of business. Friends and family said we were crazy. But we did it anyway, because we believe in it—deeply. We believe in the value of good journalism. And we believe in the extraordinary potential of psychedelics to reduce suffering. At the time we made a commitment: we will never have a paywall, we will never rely on advertisers we don’t believe in to fund our reporting, and we will always be accessible via email and social media to support people for free on their journeys with plant medicines.

To help us do this, if you feel called and can afford it, we ask you to consider making a monthly donation to DoubleBlind, starting at $1. In exchange, you’ll be invited to a monthly Zoom call with DoubleBlind’s co-founders, Shelby Hartman and Madison Margolin, where they’ll answer any questions you have about the psychedelic movement or your own journey with psychedelics. These Zoom calls also include special guests, some of the people who we love and respect most in the psychedelic space. Together, we brainstorm, collaborate, dialogue, and, simply, commune. Either way, please know that we value you as a member of our community. Make a gift now from as little as $1. Thank you.

Psilocybe cubensis may be the most popular type of magic mushroom, but there are more than 180 species containing psilocybin. Read on at DoubleBlind.