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3+ Psilocybe Semilanceata Look Alikes [Know The Imposters]

You might be ecstatic to get your hands on the Psilocybe semilanceata mushrooms from the English Civil War, but wait, it might be an imposter or just a look alikes. 

Generally, it is very difficult to correctly identify the Psilocybe in the wild, given some other mushrooms that have a similar small to medium size with bronze cap color. 

Its common look alikes are Egghead Mottlegill, Mower’s Mushroom, Deadly Galerina and Dunce Caps. 

So, follow along to know the differentiating factors between a Psilocybe Semilanceata and its doppelganger.

How Do You Identify A Psilocybe Semilanceata?

Psilocybe semilianceata, commonly known as Liberty Cap Mushroom in the U.S., is famous for its hallucinogenic effects. 

Native to Europe and North America, the cap of the Liberty Cap Mushroom is usually conical or bell-shaped, more like a pointed hat.

An image of Psilocybe semilanceata taken in low light.
Psilocybe semilanceata is a seasonal mushroom, and it is typically found in the fall.

Besides, the cap’s color can vary, but it is typically pale to dark brown and sometimes whitish. 

One of the major distinctive factors of these mushrooms is their nipple-like protrusion at the centre, which you’ll not find in the regular Button Mushroom or Portobello Mushroom

Key Features of The Liberty Cap Mushroom

Besides the psychedelic effect, here are some physical characteristics to set the Psilocybe semilanceata to set them apart from its look alikes. 

  • Cap Shape & Size: As the name Liberty Cap suggests, the mushrooms are usually conical or bell-shaped, with a pointy cap of 0.5-2.5 cm in diameter.
  • Stem Size: These mushrooms have slender and curved stems that can grow around 2.5 to 10 cm in length. 
  • Gills: The underside of these mushrooms is covered with closely packed gills. Initially, the gills are pale in color, then turing dark purple-brown as it matures. 
  • Presence of Veil: Different from common mushrooms like Portobello, Liberty Cap has partial veils covering its gills. But the mushroom matures, and the cap expands. This veil might leave a distinctive ring on the stem.

Are Liberty Cap Mushrooms Poisonous?

Normally, Liberty Cap Mushroom contains psilocybin and psilocin, which are psychoactive compounds that can cause hallucinations.

But they are not considered as poisonous or toxic in the traditional sense as they do not possess any toxin with potential immediate harm. 

When ingested in large amounts, Psilocybe semilanceata can cause profound hallucination. The symptoms are followed by visual, auditory, and even sensor disorders. 

While not exactly toxic, a high dose of psilocybin can have mental and perceptual effects and increases heart rate and body temperature.

Moreover, the psychedelic effect depends on the dose taken and also on the individual’s mindset, environment, and emotional state. 

Disclaimer: We do not recommend the use of any intoxicating substance or mushroom.

3+ Psilocybe Semilanceata Look Alikes 

Mushrooms that live in similar habitats tend to evolve to look similar.

Also, there is little genetic variation within the mushroom community, so many might resemble each other. Similar is the case with the Liberty Cap.

They also have a few doppelgangers just like the look alikes of Bicolor Bolete, Slippery Jack Mushroom, and Shaggy Mane Mushroom

That said, it is essential to identify the Psilocybe semilanceata correctly to save yourself from other species that could be a potential poison. 

Let’s have a look at a few Psilocybe semilanceata look alikes.

1. Egghead Mottlegill

Panaeolus semiovatus, commonly known as Egghead Mottlegill, is a type of non-edible mushroom. 

Given the tiny size of around 0.5 inches in diameter, with a smooth, yellow-brown cap, the Egghead Mottlegill tends to look like a Liberty Cap Mushroom. 

A close ground portrait of Egghead Mottlegill.
The name Egghead is due to the egg-like cap on the stem.

However, Panaelous semiovatus does not contain psilocybin like the Liberty Cap. 

They are neither considered to be poisonous but they are neither edible as well. 

2. Mower’s Mushroom

Another fungus from the Panaeolus genus that might deceive for Liberty cap is the Mower’s Mushroom.

Generally, Mower’s Mushrooms (Panaeolus foenisecii) are named as they are mostly found in lawns, grassy areas, and meadows, similar to the Liberty Cap Mushroom. 
A bunch of the Mower's Mushroom some laying on the grass while some yet to be picked.
Mower’s Mushrooms are thin and tall, just like an umbrella ready to open.

Meanwhile, Mower’s Mushroom have small to medium-sized caps, making them a Psilocybe semilanceata look alikes.

But unlike any other on the list, these mushrooms are covered in a fine, powdery substance called pruina.

3. Deadly Galerina 

Next on the list of Psilocybe semilanceata look alikes is Galerina marginata, aka Deadly Galerina Mushroom. 

These mushrooms are native to similar regions of Europe, North America, and parts of Asia, just like the Liberty Cap. 

Moreover, the name Deadly Galerina is due to the presence of amatoxins, which is a rare toxin not many mushrooms carry.
A portrait of deadly galerina which is a look alikes of the Psilocybe semilanceata
Deadly Galerina pops out from the woods in the wild.

But these chemicals are capable of causing liver failure and death, beginning with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizure, usually after 6-12 hours after ingestion.

So, keep your distance from these brown smooth cap mushrooms with pale yellow gills.

You may find the Deadly Galerina around wood chips or mossy areas like the Psilocybe semilancceta.

4. Dunce Caps 

You might have difficulty differentiating the Dunce Cap (Conocybe apala) from Psilocybe semilanceata as they appear to look alikes.

Both the mushrooms are small and found in grassy areas.

A portrait of a single dunce caps.mushroom
Unlike the Liberty Caps, these mushrooms are all white.

The slender whitish stem and cluster growing habit with similar white cap color adds to the resemblance. 

Nevertheless, look for their spore print for correct identification. Dunce cap had a white spore print while Libery Cap Mushroom have a purple-brown spore print. 

From Editorial Team

Be Aware Of The Legality!

In most parts of the U.S., cultivating, possessing, and consuming the Psilocybe semilanceata and other psilocybin-containing Mushrooms is illegal. 

This is due to their psychoactive effects. 

So, before you dive into searching for one, make sure to get proper information about the law of your state.