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Liberty Cap

Inedible Inedible
Autumn Autumn
Winter Winter

This common Autumn mushroom has been illegal to pick, prepare, eat or sell since 2005 as they are now considered a class A drug. Liberty Caps contain the active ingredients psilocybin and psilocin, which can cause hallucinations and in some cases, nausea or vomiting.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Liberty Cap (EN), Magic Mushroom (US), Shroom (US), Cap Hud (CY), Łysiczka Lancetowata (PL), Hegyes Badargomba (HU)
Scientific Name Psilocybe semilanceata
Season Start Sep
Season End Dec
Average Mushroom height (CM) 5
Average Cap width (CM) 1
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.


The cap can vary in shape, size and colour. When young it is translucent brown and will stay brown if the weather is wet, if the cap dries it becomes buff/white/grey/silver but almost always has a darker to black bottom edge. The cap has a ‘nipple’ which can be quite pronounced or barely present and the bottom edge always tucks under. When fresh, the cap has a translucent covering that, if you are very careful, can be peeled away.


The gills start light grey/black, are mottled and have a lighter edge but become very dark purple/black as the spores are released.


The stem is off white, slightly shaggy on close inspection, can have a blueish base with mycelium still joined. The stem usually curves and bends and is rarely straight.


Has very thin flesh.


More common in fields, moors and grassland where animals are grazed but can be found in lawns and in parks.

Possible Confusion

Some of the Mottlegills from the genus Panaeolus can look similar but none have both a pronounced umbo and a bent and curving stem. Some of the grassland bonnets (Mycena sp.) might look similar with age too, however their striated cap might be a relatively easy giveaway.

Spore Print

Dark purple. Ellipsoid.



Other Facts

Magic Mushrooms are currently treated the same as heroin or LSD and are class A drugs but very recently (Oct 2021) the government was looking to change this due to the apparent benefits from treating certain illnesses with psilocybin and psilocin, the active components of Magic Mushrooms. These include chronic depression and PTSD. The research is ongoing but they do seem to be proving useful in the medical field.


21 comments for Liberty Cap

  1. Mark Robert Richards says:

    i have come across many of these little gems in the past. From memory although now a class A drug they were not in the 70s (or earlier) and you could pick them without having to worry about the law. How times change!

    1. Davy Richards says:

      The U.S have legalised magic mmushie usage for over 21’s. Apparently their big statue is to be renamed, The Statue of Liberty Cap.

      1. Attila Fodi says:

        Decriminalisation and legalisation are two different things, and they aren’t even decriminalised in every US states. In most of the US, possession is still illegal, but they aren’t priority any longer (check the term: deprioritisation, please)!

  2. sean says:

    Anyone know what Ireland’s laws are on psilocybin mushrooms are?

    1. Attila Fodi says:

      It is illegal to possess, consume and trade it since 31/01/2006 (check S.I. No. 53/2006 – Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Regulations).

  3. Eddy says:

    these mushrooms grow wild and free,why is it any business of any government or authority to tell people what to choose to do with them. Do they propose creating a poison to eliminate them. If a law cannot be upheld then the law is an “ass”.

    1. Chris says:

      Their argument will be… why should the NHS pay tens of thousands because someone has been admitted for liver failure just because some moron goes foraging without knowing what they are looking for.

      1. Steve says:

        Any counter argument is blasphemy

        1. Sarah says:

          Counter argument is rediculous… Government don’t want the masses awake. Hence they are illigal…

      2. Bob says:

        I’d imagine the percentage of liver failure due to (any) mushroom misidentification compared to alcohol consumption (£taxes!) is probably pretty negligible. Not that i’m arguing for more state control there either! :/ And these days, the NHS would probably just leave you waiting in the corridor ’til your liver had done itself in anyway…

      3. Craig says:

        the counter argument of a state robot

  4. Craig F says:

    Spot on Sarah. Many uses for this mushroom. Not taken them in a long time though. Marry have to put my waking boots on.

  5. cathy says:

    Psilocybin does have therapeutic properties, it is proven especially in areas of mental health.
    Druids ate the ‘ Fly Agaric’ as they beleived it imported knowledge and enlightment.Why I wonder has it been categorised as a class A drug. They grow naturally in abundance at certain times of the year.People should be able to foarage and pick them as they wish.
    Alcohol is a Drug does a lot more damage to people but its legal!! Alcohol is a depressant yet it is glamorised and disguised in many different ways.
    Alcohol is toxic but freely available. Alcohol duty generates revenue for the goverment

  6. Mike Gibson says:

    looking for an alternative to pain killers.

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      A lot of research is happening with the chemicals from Liberty Caps which is of great interest but we are a foraging company and can’t advise them for medicinal use as we don’t know enough about the subject.

  7. JMF says:

    I consumed liberty cap mushrooms many years ago. I have bi polar depression which is hell sometimes but have learned to live with it, becoming somewhat normal part of every day life. I generally go with the flow. I have decided this year to use LC’s and document my journey. Knowing what I got from them many years ago, I am of the view they will help me. I’ve thought a lot about it and consider my decision to be based on sensible research. I don’t know if it will work but I do know short term that it most probably will have benefits. Personally I couldn’t give a hoot what the Government say. It’s my decision. It’s a benefit that one took only a handful of times, spaced out(pardon the pun) over many years
    If it works this time I expect to share my experience with the medical profession and I would indeed be prepared to go to prison for it. I’m on medication, have been for over twenty years. I’m a complete basket case without it and with it I’m functional,however life could definitely be better. In my mind I’m very motivated but in practice not so much. I don’t want or need negativity with authorities but if it works then I’m prepared to be punished, however unjustly but prepared nevertheless. I’m just looking for a brighter future, nothing more nothing less.
    P.S: I would not advise anyone to do this without thorough research and yes, I will document everything from dosage, time and equally important, mood! I will also discuss everything with my GP, I’m not asking for permission to do this, as previously stated, it’s my decision.

    1. S ad says:

      Any update as to how you are getting on with your research into using liberty caps to help your mental state?

  8. Wayne Jones says:

    I’m 48yrs old and I’m contemplating taking mushrooms for the first time.
    I’m quite sensible and have two young kids.
    I didn’t realise that picking the wrong mushrooms can cause me damage.
    I’ve had issues with my liver function in the past 12mths and this is now a worry.
    can anyone give advice on their ‘past’ experiences?

    1. keith says:

      hey, the same rule goes when picking mushrooms of any kind. if you can’t identify it, dont eat it. really simple and could save your life.

  9. Kevin Tyack says:

    I’m guessing it’s illegal for it to exist as well, why hasn’t the government started a lawsuit against nature to stop it producing these.
    Obviously we need the government to protect us from these things, surely if they can’t then they should be held accountable for anyone who eats one of these and has a unusual experience.

  10. Ronce Cornew says:

    Wayne, I will start with the caveat of needing to pay due care and attention and never ingesting anything you are not sure of. That said, with proper research and diligence, liberty caps are a very distinctive mushroom that can be ID’d with a good degree of confidence. If it is the right size, colour and shape, has a pronounced ‘nipple’, a detachable gel like membrane over the cap, a tough elastic stem which does not split easily and has dark brown gills with a tinge of purple then you can be confident in what you’ve found. It can be easy to convince yourself with a false positive initially, but once you’ve seen one they’re difficult to mistake in future.

    There are communities online and on Reddit that can help verify what you find too…

    The above does not constitute legal or medical advice.

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