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Psilocybe semilanceata the amazing Liberty Cap

Psilocybe semilanceata

Table of contents

What do a Roman slave, a French revolutionary, and an English poet have in common?

Believe it or not, they all played a part in naming a mushroom. 

First a symbol of freedom after slavery, then the French Revolution, today the Liberty Cap is associated with the mushroom Psilocybe semilanceata, and all because of a poet named James Woodhouse, who discovered this little guy.

The name was commonly accepted as the discipline of mycology developed. Psilocybe semilanceata is a fascinating member of the  Hymenogastraceae family, known for its production of psilocybin, psilocin, and baeocystinThis unique characteristic places it among the most potent psilocybin-containing mushrooms in existence.

Source: Dr. Hans-Günter Wagner

This article offers an educational overview of Psilocybe semilanceata for those interested in mycology and fungal taxonomy.

And if you really want to dig deep into magic mushrooms you can read more about the Psilocybe genus

Liberty Cap Appearance

Talking about features, all mushrooms have their unique style, and here’s what you should be looking at:

  • Cap – Conical to bell-shaped with grooves and a cute protrusion on top. When it’s damp, it has ochre to pale brown or dark chestnut brown hues. When it dries, the cap becomes much lighter, a pale yellow-brown.

  • Gills – Underneath the mushroom’s cap, you’ll find 15 to 27 narrow gills. At first, they are pale brown, but as the spores mature, they turn dark gray to purple-brown.

  • Stipe – Slender, yellowish-brown 1.5-6 in long and thin slightly thicker at the base.

  • Veil – Delicate, cobweb-like partial veil that doesn’t last long. Sometimes, the partial veil leaves a ring-shaped zone on the stipe.

  • Flesh – Thin and membrane-like, similar in color to the surface tissue.

  • Stain – Any bruised part will turn a bluish color, as it ages naturally, it can develop a blue hue.

  • Spores – Reddish purple-brown spores and long cylindrical hyphae.

  • Spore print – The spore print has a deep reddish purple-brown color.

Distribution and habitat

Psilocybe semilanceata is widespread across the temperate Northern Hemisphere, notably in Europe, and has even reached the Southern Hemisphere, including Australia and New Zealand. In North America, it is prevalent in the Pacific Northwest and reported across Canada and the United States, though less common in South America, with sightings in Chile. This mushroom thrives in grassy habitats such as meadows, pastures, or lawns—exactly where our poet initially discovered it. It grows solo or in groups in fertile, acidic soil, deriving nutrients from decomposing grassroots, and contributes significantly to the ecosystem’s diversity. Interestingly, Psilocybe semilanceata can form sclerotia, a dormant fungus state that protects against wildfires and other natural adversities.

Similar species 

This tiny shroom has a lot of lookalikes, here’s how you can tell them apart.

  1. Psilocybe strictipes Lacks a prominent papilla.

  1. Psilocybe mexicana Has smaller spores and typically grows in manure-rich soil in Mexico.

  1. Psilocybe samuiensis Found in Thailand, features a smaller cap and rhomboid-shaped spores.

  1. Psilocybe pelliculosa Physically similar but with smaller spores.

  1. Inocybe geophylla A whitish mushroom with different gill and spore characteristics.

  1. Panaeolus semiovatus Generally larger with a rounder cap shape.

  1. Panaeolina foenisecii Similar color range but larger and lacks a pointy cap.

How to research mushroom spores

If you’re keen to explore the magical world of fungi, your research journey starts with us. Visit Fungushead for our exclusive collection of Psilocybe cubensis mushroom spore Syringes and Swabs. Here’s what our products offer:

  1. High-Quality Spores: Each strain is carefully selected from genetically isolated sources to ensure the best genetics.

  1. Deionized Type 2 Water: Our syringes contain meticulously purified water to protect against contaminants.

  1. Tested for Viability: We regularly test our spores to confirm their vitality and purity.

  1. Labeled for Identification: Every syringe is clearly labeled with the strain name and an image of the fruiting body.

Legal Note and Product Compliance


All content and images on our site are for informational and educational purposes only. Cultivating psilocybin mushrooms is federally illegal in the United States. We do not support or promote the cultivation of psilocybin “magic” mushrooms. Please refrain from contacting us for cultivation advice. All products on this site are intended for microscopy and taxonomy only. None of the psilocybin mushroom spores we offer are for consumption or cultivation, and we do not sell products containing psilocybin.


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