Revised May 1, 2002; August 31, 2007; August 27, 2008; April 20, 2013; and September 11, 2016.
Copyright 1998-2016 by John W. Allen.




A FEW WORDS OF CAUTION
 

1. Under the provision of Public Law 91.513, psilocybine and psilocine are registered and designated as controlled substances (#7437 and 7438), and are proscribed as such and are also subject to a fine and/or imprisonment. However, exempting California, Idaho and Georgia, spores for the propagation of psilocybian mushrooms are not illegal to possess in the United States. But it is illegal to post and sell growing instructions with either spores and/or sporulating grow kits for growing the mushrooms.

2. The purpose of this guide is to enable mushroom lovers toward a the reader with a better understanding of what to pick or what not to pick. The author does not condone or condemn people seeking altered states of consciousness by hunting for "magic mushrooms." However, I do want people to enjoy what they are searching for and not end up on a slab at the local coroner's city morgue. Study this guide and be sure you are right then proceed with confidence. Recently, someone in California has been selling small silver-colored toxic mushrooms to young adults. Several individuals are having major destruction of their liver and kidney brought on after eating such fake magic mushrooms.

3. Remember to always ask permission to trespass onto private property. This will prevent a number of unpleasant complications which may arise if neglected or ignored. Do not take dogs into fields or litter a field and do not damage a farmers fence properties or trash their fields with paper garbage and/or beer or soda cans and bottles, and never a gate open on farmland properties that do not belong to you. Remember that magic mushrooms in the PNW may be found in urban and suburban lawns and gardens in both private and public parks, homes, apartments and condos, and on the lawns of most new buildings in major cities and neighboring communities. Remember that there are also State and Federal laws that make it illegal to pick wild flowers, cuttings, or trees and other plants, fungi included, from such public facilities.

4. Possession of "magic mushrooms" is one level of illegality and illicit sales are quite another. Do not destroy a beautiful free ecstatic experience through dealing. Share what you find with others and they will further spread the word and the knowledge gained from experiencing the magic of these mushrooms and their special properties. The Indians of Mesoamerica treasure the sanctity of the sacred mushrooms and their shamans do not sell them.

5. A few words of caution are necessary for the novice mushroom hunter and forager of both wild edible and entheogenic mushrooms who just might happen to be reading this guide. Please remember, it is very important that one must never ingest any variety of wild mushroom without first having had said mushroom identified by a trained qualified mycologist (one who studies mushrooms). Also, never offer any wild mushrooms which one might pick to another person unless one is absolutely sure that the mushrooms in question are not of a toxic or of a poisonous nature. The few accidental deaths reported in the literature shows that such cases of death are often the result of misidentification of species by young adults who claim that they had eaten the same species on previous occasions without any poisoning. Of course if they had eaten actual poisonous fungi, they would most likely die or have kidney and liver damage the rest of their lives.

On Christmas day in 1982, a 16-year-pld girl died after her and two 17-year-old male companions picked and ate a collection of Galerina autumnalis. The latter is deadly and macroscopically resembles both Psilocybe cyanescens; and sometimes both Psilocybe stuntzii and Psilocybe ovoideocystidiata during various stages of the growth and development of all three species. At times, from above the ground looking down, all three could have the same color cap. It would be easy to grab a handful of a cluster or clump of either Psilocybe cyanescens and/or Psilocybe stuntzii, as well as Psilocybe ovoideocystidiata (blue ringers) and have a single specimen of a single small fungi such as a deadly species of Galerina fruiting underneath it. Both boys in the above noted death lived while the girl died four days later. Both of the boys later claimed that they had picked the very same mushroom the year before and did not get sick. After several days of not feeling good, the three decided to go to the hospital. They claimed that they were afraid to go to the ER when they first became sick because they feared they would be persecuted and prosecuted for consuming an illegal substance.

One may read the news item in the Grape Vine News section of this website at this URL: Death of a 16-year-old girl from Galerina autumnalis. In 2001, two young adults in their twenties were also poisoned near Astoria, Oregon while hunting for magic mushrooms. One of the two gave his companion some freshly picked species of what had been believed to be the same magic mushrooms he had picked in the same location the year before. After assuring his friend that they were good to go, they consumed then and then after a day they became sick, went to the hospital, and sadly, the friend who had never eaten magic mushrooms before became ill and died. See this URL for a link to the article about this tragic death: Two Poisoned by Accidental Ingestion of Toxic Species in Astoria. That sad incident is also posted as a news item in the Oregon News Section of my website. So please read this guide a few times.

Avoid any mushrooms with orangey or whitish gills. Stick to those discussed in this field guide that fruit in manure such as Psilocybe cubensis and/or Psilocybe subcubensis which produce a chocolate to purple-brown/purple/black sporeand color, or the coprophilous species of either Panaeolus or Copelandia which also appear in the manure of most four-legged ruminants. Many similar species identified in this guide can be easily identified by such spore color and can be found in lawns and muclhed garden beds in the PNW and along the West Coastal Area of the United States.

6. Most major cities with large populations have mycological societies. These organizations are composed of friendly individuals who usually meet together at least once a month for the sole purpose of sharing and discussing their common interest in mushrooms and the love they share together in foraging for them. These groups of individuals would be more than delighted to examine and identify any wild mushrooms when approached to do so. Most mycological societies usually charge a ten to twenty dollar annual fee and hold monthly meetings and forays. They provide a fun place to hang and learn from.

7. Also, most major cities have many colleges and universities with both botany and mycology departments. Teachers and students who are studying in this field have a noble sense of willingness f or examining and identifying any fresh mushroom specimens which might be brought to their attention. Remember, it is very easy to make a mistake, so be careful in your endeavor of auto-experimentation. And most of all, Remember that if you are good to the mushrooms then the mushrooms will be good for you. Karma is what it is all about. Good luck and good hunting.



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