Picking magic mushrooms in the wild: complete guide – ChocoChampi
Cueillette des champignons magiques dans la nature  guide complet

Picking magic mushrooms in the wild: complete guide

Mushroom picking can be an exciting and rewarding activity, especially if you're interested in magic mushrooms. However, it's crucial to know the basics to avoid consuming potentially dangerous species. In this article, we bring you a simple guide to help you get started on the path to hallucinogenic mushroom picking. But if you're more interested in consuming than seeking out magic mushrooms, we recommend you try our magic mushroom-infused edibles. They are less dangerous, legal and provide very similar effects.

Wisdom above all: learning to identify mushrooms in general

As mentioned above, mushroom picking can be a risky business if you don't know which species are good and which are bad. Before embarking on this adventure, it is strongly recommended that you join a wild mushroom picking group. This will enable you to learn to recognise different varieties and to forge links with other enthusiasts. It's also important to note that the laws on mushroom picking vary from country to country, particularly where fresh mushrooms containing psilocybin are concerned.


The basics of mushroom picking

When and where to look for magic mushrooms


  • Autumn is the ideal season for finding magic mushrooms, thanks to its cool, damp conditions. Summer is generally too hot and dry for these mushrooms to grow.
  • The natural habitats of magic mushrooms vary from species to species. Some prefer damp fields with cow manure, while others thrive best on decaying tree trunks.
  • To increase your chances of finding magic mushrooms, it's essential to know the specific environment in which they grow.

Take a close look at the physical characteristics

Once you've potentially found some magic mushrooms, take the time to examine their appearance:


  • What is the shape of the cap?
  • How are the blades arranged under the cap?
  • What is the texture and colour of the stem?

Even for experienced gatherers, it can be difficult to be absolutely certain that you have identified a hallucinogenic mushroom. If you're having trouble identifying a mushroom, don't hesitate to take photos and ask other pickers for advice, or consult online resources.

Making a spore print: a crucial step in identification

When you think you've found a magic mushroom, make a spore print to confirm your hypothesis:

  • Cut off the cap of the mushroom and place it slat side down on a piece of black or white paper, depending on the colour of the spores.
  • Cover the cap with a glass or bowl to prevent draughts.
  • Leave to rest for a few hours, then carefully remove the cap.

Magic mushroom spore prints are generally a dark reddish-purple colour. If your print matches this description, there's a good chance you've identified a hallucinogenic mushroom!

Safety tips and extra precautions

Finally, keep the following tips in mind when picking mushrooms:

  • Always be certain of the identification of each mushroom you pick and eat. Don't take any risks with your health.
  • Respect local laws concerning the picking and possession of mushrooms containing psilocybin.
  • Never pick more than you need, to preserve the ecosystem and allow other pickers to enjoy the activity.
  • Check local laws on mushroom picking: legislation may differ from country to country, particularly where fresh mushrooms containing psilocybin are concerned.

Guide to harvesting hallucinogenic mushrooms around cow dung

The influence of cow dung on the growth of hallucinogenic mushrooms

In their natural environment, hallucinogenic mushrooms can grow around cow dung. This provides the mushrooms with a rich and fertile source of nutrients for their development. In fact, an adult cow can produce up to 50-60 kg of dung a day, providing an ideal substrate for growing these magical mushrooms.

As previously mentioned, cows feed in meadows and pastures where they leave their dung. This allows the magic mushrooms - often Psilocybe semilanceata in France - to grow, provided that other parameters are also met: rather cool, damp weather conditions.


  • Don't hesitate to seek advice from specialist groups or use applications such as iNaturalist to identify mushrooms. However, beware of misidentification.
  • Hallucinogenic mushrooms growing near cow dung generally have a nipple on their cap, which makes them easier to spot and differentiates them from other types of non-psilocybe mushroom.

Picking magic mushrooms: the basics

Once you've started, you need to learn how to identify mushrooms correctly, to avoid any danger from accidentally ingesting a poisonous variety. The Psilocybe genus, to which many varieties of hallucinogenic mushrooms belong, is a good place to start.


When and where to look?

The best time to pick magic mushrooms is autumn. The wet conditions of this season contrast with the drought of summer, when the underground mycelium of the mushrooms develops in vast networks. Summer is also a good time for spores to disperse, so mushrooms are much more abundant in autumn.

To maximise your chances of success, it's important to know where hallucinogenic mushrooms thrive: meadows and pastures where cows spend time, damp forests and shady areas, for example.


The different species of hallucinogenic mushrooms and their characteristics

There are several species of hallucinogenic mushrooms that can be found near cow dung:

  • Psilocybe semilanceata: also known as the "spotted mushroom" in France, this variety can be recognised by its cone-shaped cap and brownish-yellow colour.
  • Amanita muscaria: often referred to as the "red mushroom with white spots", this variety is characterised by its scarlet cap with irregular white spots. Although it contains psychoactive substances, its effect is not the same as that of psilocybe mushrooms.

Don't forget: before you start picking hallucinogenic mushrooms, it's essential to get informed and gather enough information to avoid the potential dangers. And before consuming magic mushroom, read this guide to have a safe trip

If you're too lazy to go mushroom picking, check out our hallucinogenic mushroom gummies and chocolates, which are legal in Europe.