So unless you have a region specific guidebook, and can make an absolutely positive identification (which probably involves identifying spores from a print under a microscope for LBMs), you really should not forage LBMs or any mushrooms for that fact. In some cases you might also need to know how to safely taste or smell the mushrooms and then know what you are tasting or smelling for. No beginner is going to be able to do any of that.
Let someone else grow them from a verified strain from a syringe. It's much safer.
As an aside, mushroom foraging is very beginner friendly as long as you stick to the right categories. Things like Chicken of The Woods, oysters, and maitakke are very easy to positively identify and don't have many look alikes in most parts of the US. The often propogated idea that mushroom foraging is only for safe for trained experts is totally untrue. The average person can safely forage for mushrooms. Just buy a region specific guidebook, and stick to the categories that your book tells you are safe for your region.
I feel bad for the guy -- really, so, so bad -- but you have to be really confused to mix up a bolete with a webcap.
Porcini don't have gills! This is like mushrooms 101.
Doesn't this kind of prove the rule? I feel like most of the cases of people getting sick from mushrooms are cases like this.
It's like a driver mixing up the gas and the brake pedal. I don't really have an explanation.
Maybe their glasses were fogged? Maybe the afternoon light was at the right angle to hide the 'gills' enough that their check failed? Maybe they had a time-efficient shortcut that finally found an edge case they hadn't planned for?
Back to the car analogy, if someone kills themself driving down the wrong side of the highway we don't all give up on driving because it is unsafe.
Yes you can definitely kill yourself foraging mushrooms. It's exceptionally unlikely with even a small bit of precaution and common sense but of course if you disregard all of that you are putting yourself at huge risk. Just like almost every other activity that involves some risks.
In my experience and in a network of many other people, there are precisely ZERO little brown mushrooms having BOTH a passing resemblance to p. sem. in any conditions (dry/wet or young/old) AND are noxious let alone dangerous.
If its your first time, be cautious, take a good book. On a dry day P. Sem. is easier to distinguish from other species that are safe but wrong. One day of successful foraging and you will know P. Sem. well enough in the wet too.
If it has the characteristic nipple, it is certainly what you are looking for. If not,well it may be, but you can just leave it until your skill improves.
Finally, needless to say, the moment the first mushroom enters your mouth, foraging is over for the day.
This is exactly why most foraging illnesses happen to travelers because some thing that is true in a specific place is frequently not true in other places.
Yeah, it's for good reason, when it comes to "LBMs" - little brown mushrooms - of which the Psilocybe genus is largely composed: You can find example photos of Psychoactive species literally growing right next to e.g. Gallerina species, which will nuke your liver.
It can seem 'easy' to distinguish when familiar. But if you're coming at it fresh it's quite daunting. And to make your friends sick is a significant faux pas.
Anyway that leaves the "I don't want to do this, and I want a 'good reason' and the death card is a good reason" cause of reluctance. It may be more common that we think.
Especially after I've picked something, it is really easy to move backwards and say "is there uncertainty with what this could be?".
If you are making educated identifications (which is really easy to do with the materials available in this age) you shouldn't ever be vomiting when eating mushrooms.
A very small percentage of people cannot handle most of the mushrooms that other people can and will vomit but this is true of many other food categories and is not unique to mushrooms.
We're talking the entire class of little to no culinary value little brown things. Name some tasty ones, go!
Now let's bring in the 'lets get fucked up' crowd and see how much chaos can happen.
Part of me doesn't mind that people stay afraid, it's less competition for a great time hunting. The other part rolls their eyes at those who don't do educated risk for the reward.
Right after I just explained how easy it is. Reminds me of explaining password mnemonics to people sometimes. I really don't think a lot of people are prepared for taking basic safety measures and the amount of people getting poisoned in the news is high enough that I feel the alarm is warranted. I remember seeing this one photo of a girl biting an amanita species saying how someone here in Costa Rica said it would get her high and she was explaining how she was in so much pain but was asking on FACEBOOK of all websites if there was any 'natural way' to cure it, like uhh yeah no you need a helicopter to the hospital
It's subjective that people would find it enjoyable. Even
of all the past times one can do, there are similar ones, like birding, hiking, gardening, etc. We're not short on past times that, even in the worst case, won't even leave you vomiting.
The context in the above conversation is that the activity is framed as riskier than it realistically is.
I have never heard a story of someone making a positive identification based on the resources available, then getting poisoned because they had discovered a new species which had total overlap with their positive identification. Doesn't mean it's never happened but I would say if it has it is exceedingly rare.
In the same way we don't not drive because it's possible to crash, I'm not going to stop foraging because of the possibility of super outlier events.
There are plenty of things people dont do because of the risk, so your argument there is complete nonsense.
Sure jumping out of a plane with a parachute is going to be safe if you're confident you know what you're doing, but there's plenty of people (including myself) that wouldn't dare do it.
The comment I responded to had this -
"but she wouldn't budge from the belief that if you're not an expert you'll pick a mushroom and die. People are missing out on a very enjoyable past time because of fear mongering."
Which is an unbelievably ignorant attitude. Comes across as "People aren't getting into X hobby I like because they're afraid, so we should peer pressure them into doing it anyway" (even though someone who is nervous is 10x more likely to make a mistake that DOES end in death or illness)
This is false and dangerous misinformation!
Mushrooms can certainly kill you, and people have died from eating poisonous mushrooms.
Just one example, from the Amanita genus:
"Several members of the section Phalloidieae are notable for their toxicity, containing toxins known as amatoxins, which can cause liver failure and death. These include the death cap A. phalloides; species known as destroying angels,
including A. virosa, A. bisporigera and A. ocreata; and the fool's mushroom, A. verna."
"More recently, a series in the subgenus Lepidella has been found to cause acute kidney failure, including A. smithiana of northwestern North America, A. pseudoporphyria of Japan, and A. proxima of southern Europe."
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanita#Toxicity
Suppose you find a mushroom that obviously bruises blue and generally matches the phenotype of whatever local psilocybe grows in your area. What's your risk?
I looked into galerina poisonings, being the most similar mushroom I can think of off the top of my head that might poison you, but there are so, so few cases. Maybe 1 every two years? Given how many people forage for magic mushrooms, I have to wonder if the risk is really there.
Open to having my mind changed. I've been foraging for about 10 years, but this is not something I know a whole lot about, except for that I never hear about it.
If it has chocolate brown spores and bruises blue then the risk is zero in every area that I know of. The only issue people are going to have is not knowing what bluing actually is, and thinking "well maybe this is navy blue" or whatever. Or only looking for bluing on some, but not all of the mushrooms in a collection.
For what it's worth, in my region(western PA) gallerinas are anecdotally an order of magnitude more common than any psilocybes. Actually the only psilocybin mushroom I've heard of anyone harvesting around here is gymnopilus sp. This one is also notoriously hard to identify.
If you do decide to pick your own mushrooms, definitely look for the signs he mentions in the videos, make spore prints, and post pictures of the mushrooms to the sites he recommends, where experts can identify them for you.
And remember: There are old mushroom hunters, and there are bold mushroom hunters. But there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.
 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcL-7u80kjs
 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pInqVRRva7M
In my opinion, hunting shelf fungi is pretty beginner friendly. As far as I'm aware, many species are edible, and those that aren't will just give you a stomach ache instead of giving you liver failure.
Or you can just get some 4-Aco-DMT to convert to psilocin which is way easier to microdose.
I've been led to believe the psilocybin ones have blue stalks which can distinguish them from others, but wouldn't pass that on as advice, myself.
Also, as a general point, it is a myth that bruising blue always indicates the presence of psilocybin. For instance, many boletes bruise blue and don't contain any psilocybin.
Here's a picture of an intensely blue staining bolete that does not have psilocybin:
Magic mushrooms are consumed raw.
(Note: other studies have concluded the dosage is too low for concern, the jury is still out)
But also, many kinds of bacteria can thrive in mushroom growing conditions - good idea to sterilize before you eat.
I mean, this feels eerily reminiscent of Google sending people up to the summit of Ben Nevis across dangerous terrain via a naive line connecting it to the geographically nearest car park.
This website does not seem to give any warnings about the risks involved; are there none? Although perhaps smoking (which I guess is what you do with these) may not kill you as much as eating a poisonous mushroom.
For now i've focused on where and when to look and steered clear of what to look for, partially due to liability concerns. So, right now, the map is mainly useful for people who already know what they are looking for (or are willing to do the research) rather than complete beginners. I may add a 'field guide' on identification with all the caveats in the near future though.
There is one main rule to foraging. "Never eat a mushroom you can't positively identify." If any trait of it's appearance is questionable, don't eat it.
The link says "Psilocybin mushrooms don’t look a lot like poisonous mushrooms. [...] So while it is possible, even a small amount of research will help you not to confuse them. :)".
My understanding is that fatalities from psilocybe (at least in Europe) happen, but are a small percentage of total fatalities, with other species such as amanita being several times more dangerous.
Looking at statistics for a part of Germany (2006) again, there weren't actually any fatalities but 'only' cases of poisoning.
Liberty caps - or Psilocybe semilanceata - are a psilocybin-containing mushroom that grow naturally in many parts of the world. There is a lot of information online about where and when to look for liberty caps, but I wanted to see if data could help answer this question and boost people's chances of being in the right place at the right time.
To summarise how the map works: first, I matched the dates and coordinates of historical liberty cap growth records with data on habitat (e.g. land cover, elevation, soil acidity) and weather (e.g. temperature, rainfall). Second, I used this dataset to train a model describing the conditions in which liberty caps are more or less likely to thrive (for the statistically-inclined: kernel density estimation with model selection by maximum likelihood cross-validation). Finally, this model is used to make live predictions of the likelihood of liberty cap growth across the world on any given day.
For now, the map is limited to parts of Europe and North America (PNW + east coast of Canada) where liberty caps are known to grow.
I used the following data:
- Weather: ERA5 by ECMWF (historical) , GFS by NCEP (forecast) 
- Land cover: Corine Land Cover by Copernicus (Europe) , Land Cover by NALCMS (North America) 
- Soil acidity: SoilGrids by ISRIC 
- Elevation: SRTM by CGIAR 
- Growth records: Psilocybe Semilanceata by NBNAtlas 
I don't have much more to say - I just like niche mapping projects like this.
Congrats on launching the new features + new areas!
Otherwise what I would have expect from such a site, would be of course also detailed informations on how the mushrooms look exactly and where to look for them specifically. (And also a warning, that if you pick the wrong ones, you die a horrible death and even if you pick the right one, but are in the wrong mentally conditions, your are into horror either)
Anyway, your project is nice and your map inspired me to have a look in my area and see, if it matches your data.
Thanks for your feedback; i've been thinking of adding a field guide on identification. Also good luck hunting!
Pholiotina rugosa has been spotted growing amoungst liberty caps, which contains some of the same deadly toxins in amanita species, as well as maybe others out there I'm not remembering offhand which could be mistaken (It's quite cosmopolitan in distribution in the northern hemisphere).
With data from GBIF you would have almost all of the British records published on the NBN Atlas (about 100 are not shared), plus 2,300 more from other sources.
However, there are many other species of psilocybin-containing mushrooms in North America. You can check out the Shroomery for more info on species in your area 
Also, pet peeve of mine with most maps-- when I zoom in so that I can see place names, the font gets smaller.
Some expensive (and delicious) varieties are quite rare, and a map using data like this could help perhaps.
It's possible, and would be useful, but generally not to the same extent. Many species of magic mushrooms have extremely precise weather triggers, whereas for most other species it's more like "go outside the 3rd week of July and look next to beech trees."
Would love to see an animation over time after season. Or perhaps you could do that on older data? To see how it differs across location, whether there are more peaks, etc...
The data for the site is only from a few countries, primarily the UK.
> Growth records: Psilocybe Semilanceata by NBNAtlas (subset shared under CC-BY)
* The 2005 Drugs Act amended the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 to clarify that both fresh and prepared (e.g. dried or stewed) magic mushrooms that contain psilocin or psilocybin (such as the ‘liberty cap’) are Class A drugs. This means it’s illegal to have this type of ‘magic mushrooms’ for yourself, to give away or to sell
* Possession is illegal and can get you up to seven years in jail and/or an unlimited fine.
* Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you up to life imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.