Author: James Anderson

The Complete Guide to Liberty Cap Mushrooms

how to find liberty caps

These dangerous lookalikes contain harmful compounds that can cause severe kidney and liver damage and may be fatal if ingested. There are dozens of species of psychedelic mushrooms that grow in fields and forests around the world. Galerina species, or at least some of them, can be mistaken for liberty caps, including the Galerina graminea (or turf bell) variety which has a bell-shaped cap. Again, these shrooms will have orange spores and gills and tend to be non-toxic. Toxic varieties of Galerina, such as the death cap, “look quite a bit different and grow from wood,” says Rockefeller.

how to find liberty caps

This shroom may be small, but what it lacks in size, it definitely makes up with potency. If you spot one, you’ll often find it growing in a cluster of five or more. Colonies are never far apart, so if you find a group, crouch there for a minute and scan the area around you. You’ll often find them growing on the edges of areas of longer grass and inside the tufts themselves.

History of Magic Mushrooms

Once you see one, move the grass away with your hands to look around underneath — you’ll often find more. Once you’ve dried out the Liberty Caps, they can be stored for future use. The only way this species can be obtained is by putting in the leg work and finding areas where they grow naturally in the wild and then correctly storing them. If you do detect symptoms of mushroom poisoning, you must go straight to a hospital. It’s also important to ask a sober friend to “tripsit” you when taking higher doses of shrooms, in case of a bad trip.

By doing this, you can often collect shrooms from a single colony time and time again throughout the season. It also allows the young shrooms time to mature and drop spores, ensuring they come back the year after and continue to spread. Simply giving the caps a quick flick before you pluck them will ensure that you and generations after you have plenty of shrooms to pick in future years. Doing this may also dislodge any small insects hiding in the gills — making this a bonus for you and the humble shrooms. There are three main things that you should do when picking Liberty Caps, and many other field mushrooms for that matter. Once you discover your first Liberty Cap, you won’t be able to unsee it.

  1. If you’re using the paper and baking sheet, set it carefully in the designated area.
  2. You shouldn’t have to go far to find some liberty caps in the UK.
  3. This list is by no means exhaustive, and common lookalikes may vary in your region.
  4. The mushrooms can be gritty or chalky when eaten whole and without any accompaniments.
  5. You may need to search several locations until you find one that is overflowing with liberty caps.

Many psilocybes develop this ring-like band that breaks apart as the mushroom cap grows and expands (1). Before you go skipping off into your nearest patch of dung-infested wet lawns, knowing when Liberty Caps should be harvested is equally important as knowing where to find them. Just like any fruiting plant or agricultural crop, Liberty Caps have a defined growing season. Liberty Caps thrive in grass, wet environments, and with natural fertilizer. They tend to flourish when its wet – think of the rain forests of the Pacific Northwest or the saturated fields of Western Europe.

How to Identify Wild Psilocybin Mushrooms

Rockefeller, Woodhouse and Dr Nuke all recommend using online forums to check with more experienced mushroom pickers and experts about what you’ve found. There’s the Reddit forum Magic Mushrooms UK, Mush ID on Facebook and identification forums on, to name a few. You shouldn’t have to go far to find some liberty caps in the UK. Local parks, common recreational areas, race tracks, woodland and country paths are all potential growing spots. As they contain the psychedelic compound psilocybin, liberty caps are illegal to possess in the UK. We’re confident the locations on our map are the best place to start if you don’t already know of any spots in your area (we use them ourselves!).

how to find liberty caps

Liberty cap mushrooms are psychedelic mushrooms, which means they contain psilocybin and, under federal law, are illegal in most states. This guide will take you through everything you need to know about the liberty cap mushroom, from its history and appearance to its effects and potential risks. There’s a certain “mushroom picking etiquette” you should be following if you decide to collect Psilocybe semilanceata. A few simple practices will ensure that the Liberty Cap spot you worked so hard to find stays fruitful for future generations of mushroom pickers. If you’re still unsure of the identity of what you’ve collected, a spore print can be performed.

Where can you find liberty cap mushrooms?

In North America, you can find these mushrooms west of the Cascade mountain range from Northern California and into the Pacific Northwest, including British Columbia. You can also find these shrooms in grassland habitats throughout Europe, including Ireland, France, Holland, Norway, and Switzerland (1). Make sure you remember to bring some sort of knife (really, any knife that cuts well, don’t overthink it). Always cut mushrooms horizontally at the stem so as not to disturb the delicate mycelium growing beneath the soil. This way the mushrooms grow back for your next foraging adventure, and ensure a harvest for other foragers as well. A wicker basket, mesh bag, reusable produce bag or even a laundry bag will help you carry your bounty.


Liberty Caps do not grow directly on animal dung like their cousin, the psilocybe cubensis. Interestingly, Liberty Caps are all-natural – they despise artificial fertilizer. They prefer acidic soil, which often features rotten grass roots. They thrive on these roots (which also makes them a gigantic pain-in-the-grass to grow indoors). So our advice is to begin your search in worn-out animal pastures with a high water table, close to sea level or in very wet climates. Liberty Cap mushrooms are so called because of the distinctive hat they wear on their weaving stalks.

However, it’s best to double check what you’ve foraged before you consume it. There are a number of Subreddits where you can post photos of your shrooms for a quick ID by experienced foragers. They generally appear alone or in small clusters on rich soil in pastures, meadows and parkland. They don’t grow on cow or sheep dung, but are common in areas where livestock may roam. While quite potent, as they are quite small – and shrink even further when dried – you need to pick a lot if you want to have a full dose (2-3.5g dried).