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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.

Cap

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.

Gills

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

Stem

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.

Flesh

Has very thin flesh.

Habitat

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.

Frequency

Common.

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.

COMMENTS

12 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…

  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

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