Page 2 – Typical Growing Locations
Above are a few pictures I took to help you visualise the sort of places to be looking for these mushrooms:
Typical growing location # 1: On the side of a walking trail in a foresty/park type area with lots of wood chips.
Typical growing location # 2: Near a creek, or river, with lots of wood chips or fallen trees nearby. I’ve found that magic mushrooms in these sorts of areas tend to prefer slight inclines over flat bits of land, so they will often set up camp on the inclined dirt leading into a creek. Something to keep in mind.
Typical growing location # 3: In piles of mulch! Obviously the piles don’t need to be this extreme, you will often find mulch like this in parks and in garden beds. Who knows, you might have some growing in your own garden? PRISM have never been so lucky, but we like to think there are people luckier than us out there.
Typical growing location # 4: Tanbark. Psilocybe subaeruginosa are wood loving mushrooms, that means they love wood. They can’t get enough of it. Tanbark provides a lot of it, and because the pieces of wood are so small, they offer little resistance for the mushroom to grow out; they simply slip in between the bits of bark.
Typical growing location # 5: Tall tufts of grass. Subs love to grow in tall grass, especially with lots of twigs or pine needles scattered on the floor. I assume they like it for a few reasons: firstly, the grass provides perfect shelter from predators such as ourselves; secondly, the grass collects a lot of moisture from the rain and allows the mushrooms in on some of the wet action without getting directly soaked and waterlogged, and lastly, the soil is usually softer and offers the least amount of resistance for them to grow. Because of this, mushrooms growing in tall grass will typically have longer and thinner stems than their tanbark and wood chip brothers, who will usually be stumpier.
The season generally starts in April, but doesn’t officially start until we get a good amount of rain, which often doesn’t happen until mid to late May. I’ve found that once Mothers’ Day has passed, it’s go time (sorry Mum). One night of rain is all it takes as the mushrooms grow extremely fast, but as a rule of thumb, it’s best to wait until there has been a week of good rain before you go hunting. Urban legend says you must wait for the first full moon… Whenever you decide to go hunting, remember that the sun sets at 5.30 – 6 pm and it’s extremely difficult to hunt then, even with a flashlight, so get up early and enjoy the crisp morning air!
In the above pictures, you can see a whole lot of mycelium, which is the vegetative part of a fungus. It grows under the soil and branches off into huge networks that allow the fungus to absorb nutrients. It is out of this stuff that the mushrooms grow; so if you find a patch of the stuff be sure to check back on it in a few days time. Mycelium looks a bit like spider web, as it’s fluffy and silvery white. When picking magic mushrooms it’s common etiquette to be respectful to their habitat by not yanking them out of the ground along with all of their mycelium. Bring a pair of scissors with you, if you can remember, and cut them from the base of the stem, therefore leaving their roots behind to continue growing. This is also respectful to other pickers as well, so they may see some harvests in spots that you have already picked. If you don’t have scissors then you can pinch the mushroom at the base of its stem. Don’t pull it out of the ground, and definitely don’t dig up the soil with your hands.
I found this wood chip hanging out on the floor. I saw a great photo opportunity as it shows two baby subs growing on a bit of bark covered in mycelium – one of the mushrooms is blueing like crazy, and I can only imagine what it would look like fully grown.
Before I go on with the drying/storing process I’ll show a few more pictures of mushrooms I have picked in the 2012 season to give you a better idea of what to look for.
Above is a typical ‘tall-grass’ variety of the subaeruginosa mushroom.
Above: ‘tall-grass’ subs. Below: ‘woodchip’ subs.
Note that the mushrooms that have received more sunlight (as the pic above) will appear to be a lighter colour. Next Page: List of common non-actives