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Psilocybe subaeruginosa pins

Psilly Myco Myths

Toad on a toadstool. Amanita muscaria.

We thought we'd compile a list of myths to reference seeing as these myths like to be referenced consistently each season.



"If it bruises blue it's for you."

There are plenty of blue bruising species that are not only inactive but also toxic.


"If it doesn't bruise blue it's not for you."

We have quite a few active species that don't bruise blue much if at all.


"If the gills are brown/any other colour munch em down."

This myth isn't just for active species but is quite often touted with edibles such as field mushrooms, in all cases, not true either way.


"Orange/white/any colour gills kills/equals hospital bills."

Just as much as there are active species that have these coloured gills, there are also as many if not more species that don't have these coloured gills that aren't safe for consumption.

Starting to see a pattern here with rules of thumb based on colours?


"If an area has been sprayed by the council it will have red/green/blue dye on it." or "Red dye is a herbicide and blue dye is a fungicide."

Marker dye comes in all colours and can be added to any active ingredient to aid the person applying it in being more efficient with where they've sprayed. Not all councils use it, it's budget dependent, and the colour comes down to whatever R.D.1 have in stock at the time, if it is even being used at all.


"Cutting is better than picking."

There are long-term continual studies running across multiple species, some over 30 years, showing that it doesn't make much difference at all. One study showed a slightly higher yield in patches that were picked rather than cut.


"Flick before you pick."

Doesn't make any difference. The spores have either already been released or not, flicking the fruit is not going to trigger the natural process for it to eject its spores at high speed as they do.


"Whether or not you can peel a mushroom will determine its edibility."

Simply not true at all.


"Caps are stronger than stipes." or "Only pick the caps if you want a clean trip with less body load."

I used to believe these myself. Though there are some minute differences, they're negligible and hardly worth noting.


"The best time to go picking is at dawn because the mushrooms disappear by lunchtime."

These are psilocybes, not inkcaps, they can take anywhere from a day or two to up to 4 weeks to mature depending on conditions but they aren't going anywhere by lunchtime.


"Magic mushrooms contain strychnine, a toxic compound that accumulates in your spine over time."

An urban myth that was debunked in the '90s


"There are no dung-loving psilocybes in NZ."

Psilocybe alutacea! What say you?


"Season doesn't start until the first frost."

Frost will cause fruit to abort when encountered consistently.

"You need to have had rain for there to be mushrooms."

Not if humidity and dew point are favourable, especially in micro-climates that stay damp.

"Toads don't sit on toadstools"

Well, clearly they do at times...

An Psychedlic themed impression of a toad on a toadstool by Beau Ewen of Psilver Linings
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