Magic mushroom strains – 12 varieties of shrooms

magic mushroom strains

Magic mushrooms are stepping into their moment. Research continues to illuminate psilocybin as a possible pharmaceutical resource, and some cities and states are starting to decriminalize it. The fungi are having a moment outside of the counterculture. Let’s learn more about magic mushroom strains to truly grasp their potential.

RELATED: Over 60% of Americans support regulated psychedelic therapy

Psilocybin, or magic mushrooms, are a group of fungi that inspire a hallucinogenic experience if consumed. The classic psychedelic experience is prompted by psilocybin and psilocin, compounds in magic mushrooms. The levels of psilocybin in relation to psilocin dictate how quickly the fruiting body takes effect. It could be 30 minutes until the psychedelic experience unfolds, it could be 45.

Molecular biologist Christopher Pauli co-founded the molecular biology and genetics department at Tryptomics, a testing lab that tests magic mushrooms for these ratios. Pauli explained that, like cannabis strains, defining what magic mushroom strain is best is subjective.

“It’s important to recognize that there isn’t a universally perfect mushroom. Rather, different mushrooms cater to specific preferences and purposes. For instance, if you’re geared up for a music show, opting for the most potent mushroom might not grant you the upbeat and enjoyable experience you’re after. Conversely, a milder mushroom with a varied alkaloid composition might be precisely what suits the occasion,” Pauli explained in an email.

“Moreover, if your intention is to embark on a deep meditative journey with higher doses, selecting mushrooms with elevated alkaloid content that also produce beta-carbolines could mean you need fewer grams of the fruit to attain the desired outcome.”

There’s no “best psilocybin mushroom,” but you can pair magic mushroom strains with the right moments. Let’s learn more about this nuance.

The history of magic mushroom strains

Magic mushrooms started gaining popularity in the U.S. in the 1950s thanks in part to mycologist R. Gordon Wasson, who was invited into a ritual with the Indigenous Mazatec tribe in Mexico. The psychedelic experience proved riveting, and Wasson recollected it in “Seeking the Magic Mushroom” for Life magazine.

This is often cited as the first American reference to psilocybin. Though Wasson changed her name and did not name the village, people began seeking out a similar transformative experience.

Maria Sabina, the curandera responsible for sharing the ritual with Wasson, was blamed by her community for bringing unwanted attention to their village. Her home was frequently raided, and she was hassled by police and even jailed.

Twenty years later, Wasson shared regret about writing about the Mazatec ritual after watching the way the sacred experience had been commodified. But the bottle had already been opened, and by the 70s magic mushrooms had been solidified in American counterculture.

Magic mushroom strains: cartoon of mushroom over colorful blob design

Microdosing & the Stamets stack

One major influence on modern mycology and North American mushroom foraging is longtime advocate and author Paul Stamets. Stamets could be found amidst the flurry for microdosing that took the tech (and general) world by storm in the last half a decade. This could be due in part to the popularization of the Stamets stack.

Microdosing is the act of taking a small, almost undetectable dose of psilocybin over an allotted period. The method is meant to elicit the positive effects of magic mushrooms without stirring up the intense, emotional rollercoaster of a macro dose.

Stamets stacks psilocybin with Lions Mane Mushroom to maximize the creation of new neural pathways and repair damaged ones. This stack is meant to maximize the psychedelic effect of the microdose, using not only magic mushrooms but functional ones too.

RELATED: Curious about cannabis edibles? Learn how to find your perfect dose

Magic mushroom strains

Today, the public consensus on magic mushrooms is shifting. Research continually shows the potential for psilocybin and psilocin for various mental health conditions like treatment-resistant depressive disorders.

These studies point to the need for more research and a deeper understanding of the therapeutic potential of the psilocybin mushroom species.

There are over 180 species of magic mushrooms in the Psilocybe genus. These are the general types of Psilocybe mushrooms:

  • Conocybe
  • Galerina
  • Gymnopilus
  • Inocybe
  • Panaeolus
  • Pholiotina
  • Pluteus
  • Psilocybe

Psilocybe is one of the most commonly available types of mushrooms with psychedelic properties, and there are many iterations of the fruiting bodies. Like cannabis strains, shroom strains come in many forms. On top of that, Psilocybe is not just one mushroom strain, but the parent of many easy-to-cultivate options.

Psilocybe azurescens

Potent, easy to grow, and native to the west coast of the United States, Psilocybe azurenscens has the attention of psychonauts and mycologists alike. It has been found as far north as Grey’s Harbor, Washington, but is most often found growing naturally along the Columbia River. Feral cousins of these wild mushrooms have also been found in Stuttgart, Germany.

Stamets wrote in Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World that the plant loves wood chips or sandy soils rich in wooded debris. Psilocybe azurescens is also called Flying Saucer Mushrooms, Azzies, Indigo Psilocybe, and Blue Angels. Not to be confused with Blue Meanies, also known as Panaelous cyanescens. There are many types of shrooms.

Blue Angels tend to have a more caramel color than yellow-brown Psilocybe cubensis. They have a flat-topped cap with a whitish-brown stem. The stem can turn black with damage and tends to hollow out as they age. This magic mushroom strain is said to be more potent than the common cubensis.

Psilocybe cubensis

Since it’s easy to grow, Psilocybe cubensis is the most well-known magic mushroom species growing these days. Mycologist Franklin Sumner Earle was the first American to record and describe this mushroom strain while on a visit to Cuba. This is how it got the name cubensis, or “coming from Cuba.” It grows off of dung.

There are many subspecies of Psilocybe cubensis. The original has a brown cap, Psilocybe cyanescence is paler in color, and Psilocybe caerulascens from Indochina has a more yellow lid.

The original Psilocybe cubensis has a smooth but sticky cap that sometimes has bits of thin white veil-like matter attached. It features a white color that turns brown with age, if disturbed, the flesh turns blue. This slowly degrades to black over time.

Psilocybe cyanescens magic mushroom strains

This strain of psilocybin mushrooms is often called Wavy Caps or Potent psilocybe. Psilocybe cyanescens grow in wood chips, often in manicured urban areas. A super flush of over 100,000 magic mushrooms was once found growing on an English racetrack.

RELATED: What is THCV? The skinny on the appetite suppressing cannabinoid

But that’s not what Wavy Caps are known for—they’re actually famous for their coloring. The chestnut coloring turns yellow-brown when dried, which is pretty standard. But Psilocybe cyanescens will also turn blue when touched or disturbed. It’s believed this is due to the oxidation of the psilocin.

This magic mushroom strain has been found in many locations, including the Pacific Northwest, California Bay Area, New Zealand, Western Asia, and Central Europe.

Psilocybe semilanceata

This fungus is commonly called a Liberty Cap (Psilocybe semilanceata) and grows bountifully in nature. This strain of psilocybin mushrooms contains psilocybin, psilocin, and baeocystin– all of which are psychoactive.

Liberty Caps feed off of rotting grassroots and thrive in grassland habitats, the wetter the better. They grow a cone-shaped bell-like cap that is light brown and appears slimy. The top has a small bump descending into grooves going down the cap. Another telltale sign that a psychedelic mushroom is a Liberty Cap is its slender stem.

This mushroom commonly grows in Europe but similar species thrive in other climates.
Psilocybe strictipes have the same slender build and grow in grasslands but don’t have as large of a protrusion on top of the cap. P. Mexicana (also known as the Mexican liberty cap) looks the same as Psilocybe semilanceata but grows in manure-rich soil in a subtropical climate.

RELATED: Sativa strains of cannabis that never go out of style

magic mushroom strains: drawing of mushrooms over colorful blob design

Panaeolus cinctulus

As the name dictates, Panaeolus cinctulus grows from dung or manure. It is also called banded mottlegill, weed Panaeolus, belted Panaeolus, or subs. The magic mushroom strain is quite common and grows in thick, clumpy flushes. This type of psychedelic mushroom was so common in the early 1900s that white button mushroom farmers had to weed it out of their crop before selling it to market. 

Due to similar morphology, Panaeolus cinctulus is often confused with Psilocybin species and sometimes Panaeolus fimicola. To decipher it from its fellow Panaeolus, look for sulphidia on the gills. If there are signs of sulfide, it’s a fimilcola strain.

This psychedelic shroom strain has smooth, flat brown caps, with a darker brown ring around the outside. The gills are close together and cream colored before they grow into a dishwater brown and eventually soot black. Panaeolus cinctulus produces a jet-black spore print.

Golden Teachers

One of the most highly sought-after magic mushrooms is the Golden Teacher strain. The lore of Golden Teachers has been wafting through trip circles since the 1980s.

Golden teachers are a cultivar of P. cubensis and look like it with golden brown caps that peak with a little dome on top and swaths of spores in their gills. This species of mushroom makes a perfect spore print.

The popularity of this psychedelic mushroom strain may be due to how easy it is to grow them in a substrate, aka at home. It’s tolerant of many environments and is known for its high potency.


Enigma mushrooms are a mutation of Psilocybe cubensis that looks like something that should grow deep in the ocean. Online forums also call the creamy white mushroom Tidal Wave or Brainiac. The blob mutation triggers the fruiting bodies to grow in a structure resembling the brain or coral. This isn’t truly a magic mushroom strain but more a special body type for Psilocybe cubensis.

Since it was made by man, not nature, the psychedelic mushroom doesn’t self produce like many other mushrooms. However it can be cloned. The mutation was born from cloning two types of mushrooms that wouldn’t necessarily breed, which can result in higher concentrations of psychedelic compounds or better flushes.

Penis Envy

Another cultivar of cubensis, Penis Envy is known for its unique appearance. As the name suggests, this entheogenic mushroom is phallic, featuring a thick stem under the dome-shaped cap. While it’s hard to identify many psilocybin strains with the naked eye, it’s always clear when someone has a bag of Penis Envy.

Like its cubensis brethren, Penis Envy grows from dung and thrives in hot, humid climates. This strain isn’t just coveted for its girth, it also contains high quantities of the psychoactive compounds in magic mushrooms: psilocybin and psilocin.

Penis Envy comes in different varieties, including the all-white Albino Penis Envy. A version of Tidal Wave from Magic Myco Farm won the 2021 Oakland Hyphae Psilocybin Cup. That variety was a combination of Penis Envy and B+, another sought-after magic mushroom strain.


Many of the P. cubensis strains listed here came from Mexico, Cuba, and South America, but not the B-plus mushroom. This species of magic mushroom was said to have been discovered in Florida growing a whopping 16 inches tall. The caramel-colored caps are also large, reaching up to a five-inch diameter.

The caps are smooth aside from that little nipple-like protrusion on the top, but sometimes they also develop unique spots. Like Penis Envy, B+ mushrooms have a thick stem that can grow up to six inches long and one inch thick. They appear white unless bruised, then a blue hue emerges.

Find B+ magic mushrooms in grassy areas growing on decomposing plants or dung. They like hot weather and their growth cycle is triggered by raised humidity amidst already-hot temperatures.

Blue Meanies

The Blue Meanie mushroom strain is part of the Panaeolus cyanescens family, meaning it grows on dung. When pierced or cut the white-grey flesh turns blue, almost green. These are small shrooms, with brown caps that can vary into a yellowish color on a thin white stem. Its spore print is jet black.

Many believe that Blue Meanies are more potent, with stronger auditory and visual hallucinations than other magic mushroom strains. However, there is nothing to prove this. In fact, Tryptonomics co-founder Christopher Pauli told GreenState many who think they have the Blue Meanie strain actually have Psilocybe cubensis. There’s much left to be learned about the world of magic mushrooms.

Jack Frost magic mushroom strain

This strain of magic shrooms has a distinct appearance. Jack Frost is indeed frosted with white spores. It’s also bumpy and often grows to be enormous. The psychedelic mushroom has also garnered a reputation as a potent teacher with the potential to invoke altered states of consciousness.

Like Enigma, Jack Frost doesn’t occur naturally, it’s a human-made mushroom strain. Few have had the chance to try this grotesque mushroom, but those who have can agree they’re stunning. The albino mushroom has a white stem and cap with blue gills. Potency varies from batch to batch, but Jack Frost almost always produces all-white frosted flushes.

RELATED: New book answers all your blooming questions about magic mushrooms

magic mushroom strains: close-up shot of Amanita muscaria cap

Amanita muscaria

Technically the term magic mushrooms applies to psilocybin mushrooms, but Amanita muscaria, or fly agaric, deserves an honorable mention on the list. Labelled as poisonous mushrooms in their raw form, the decarboxylated version is now picking up speed as a “legal psychedelic mushroom.”

The experience of Amanita isn’t identical to tripping on psilocybin, but it creates a definitively altered state. Though many call them legal in 49 states (Louisiana has laws against consumption), these products aren’t FDA regulated, so consume with care.

The rarity and legality of magic mushroom strains

These strains are well-known and depending on the season can be hard to find. Pauli explained that home breeding donates to the rarity of some magic mushroom strains.

“Certain mushrooms are considered rare not because they’re naturally occurring, but due to human innovation. The creation of new hybrid strains by crossbreeding results in singular entities – there’s literally just one place on the planet where that specific mushroom is cultivated, under the care of the breeder,” Paul shared.

“Over time, these custom hybrids often surge in popularity. The fascinating world of hybridization is continuously evolving, driven by passionate mycologists such as Julian Mattucci, who are even experiment with inter-species crosses of these rare psilocybin containing mushrooms.”

Though they grow naturally on U.S. soil and in humid, residential closets, magic mushrooms are still illegal in various forms that differ by state. Psilocybin is outright illegal in 44 states. Selected municipalities in Washington, California, Michigan, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Colorado have decriminalized the compound, and Oregon State has fully decriminalized it.

Because of this, it is critical to note that cultivating magic mushroom strains or foraging them from public lands could be illegal and bring legal repercussions.

Additionally, mushroom foraging isn’t a frivolous activity. Consuming a misidentified mushroom could result in a hurt tummy at best, and death at worst. Don’t eat a foraged mushroom without amply identifying it against field guides.

Magic mushroom strains look a bit different and can create more or less potent effects depending on their genetic makeup and the environment where they grow. Sounds a lot like cannabis strains, to be honest.

Cara Wietstock is Senior Content Producer of and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.