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Psilocybe azurescens: The Ultimate Guide to Flying Saucer Mushrooms

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What Do Flying Saucer Mushrooms Look Like?

Psilocybe azurescens caramel-colored caps, broad umbo, and white stems are recognizable characteristics.

However, what sets them apart is their distinct “nipple-like shaped” umbo, which is situated at the center of the cap.

There are other distinguishing features of Psilocybe azurescens aside from their unique shape:

Their cap is typically 3 to 10 cm in diameter and is convex or bell-shaped, becoming flat as the mushroom matures.
The cap’s color ranges from caramel to rusty brown, with tiny hairs covering it.
The cap is hygrophanous, which means it changes color when it dries, often to a brownish or yellow shade.
The gills, or lamellae, of the mushroom are dark purplish-brown, while the stem is thick and white, typically around 5 to 10 cm long.
Psilocybe azurescens spore prints are dark purple-brown.

One of the unique features of these mushrooms is their blue staining characteristic. They turn blue when picked, bruised, or damaged due to the oxidation of psilocybin [3].

Distinguishing Psilocybe azurescens from other Psilocybe species can be challenging, as they often appear similar and grow in the same habitat. Mushroom identifiers classify them as little brown mushrooms (LBMs), which means they are small, brown, and challenging to tell apart.

Avoid Mistaken Mushroom Foraging

If you plan on collecting P. azurescens in the wild, it’s important to correctly identify them to avoid mistakenly ingesting a toxic or poisonous lookalike.

Several other psilocybin-containing mushroom species resemble P. azurescens and are commonly found in the same habitats. Here are some of them and how to distinguish them from P. azurescens:

Psilocybe cyanescens

The Psilocybe cyanescens species has many similarities to P. azurescens, including appearance, psychedelic effects, habitat, and growing season. They both grow on wood chip mulch and favor cool temperatures, often appearing in the same regions, such as the Pacific Northwest.

One way to distinguish the two species is by their cap shape. Cyanescens mushrooms have a wavy cap, while azurescens have a more convex and broad cap.

Check out our guide on Psilocybe cyanescens to learn more about this wavy-psychedelic species, including its history, culture, psychedelic effects, and benefits.

Psilocybe allenii

Another wood-loving species, Psilocybe allenii, often has similarities with Psilocybe azurescens, such as their appearance in the Pacific Northwest. However, they have significant differences in their morphology, so it is not difficult to distinguish these species. 

Psilocybe subaeruginosa

Psilocybe subaeruginosa is an Australian psychedelic mushroom species that prefers woody, cold environments. These two mushrooms have a similar appearance – caramel caps and white stems. 

They also have notable differences. On the center of the cap, the so-called umbo, P. azurescens has a unique nipple-like structure that other mushrooms do not have. 

Psilocybe weraroa

Psilocybe weraroa is a psychedelic species native to New Zealand, while Psilocybe azurescens mainly grows in North America. They also differ in their morphology, with distinct cap appearances. P. werarora also do not have the nipple-like structure on their umbo, which makes it easier to distinguish them from P. azurescens.

Psilocybe semilanceata (aka. Liberty Cap)

While P. semilanceata shares some similarities in appearance with P .azurescens, P. semilanceata  primarily grows in dune grass and has a pointed, conical cap.

Proper identification is crucial when foraging for wild mushrooms, and it’s always best to consult an experienced identifier or guidebook when in doubt.

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