Just like with cannabis, there are many different species and strains of magic mushrooms. It’s worth noting that there are really only two species of cannabis, but many strains. With magic mushrooms, there are many species, and within those species, many different strains.
You might have heard of Psilocybe cubensis or Amanita muscaria; these are two different species of magic mushrooms. But when we’re talking about Golden Teachers or Amazonian Cubensis, we’re talking about different strains of Psilocybe cubensis.
We’ll go through the difference between species and strains in this article before sharing a little bit about the many varieties of magic mushrooms. Understanding a little bit of taxonomy helps to avoid confusion when talking about specific strains and species, and it will also make you feel like a little bit of a mycologist!
Understanding hierarchies; the difference between species and strains.
In taxonomy of virtually any living organism on earth, there’s a taxonomical hierarchy. It goes in the order of Kingdom → Phylum → Subphylum → Class → Order → Family → Genus → Species.
For the purpose of naming magic mushrooms, we’re most interested in the genus and species. To understand this, we can look at Psilocybe cubensis and Psilocybe subaeruginosa. In these two species, the genus is Psilocybe. However, it’s their species that differ, one being cubensis and the other being subaeruginosa.
A strain is something like a phenotype. It means that the organism is the same genus and species, but because it grows in different conditions, it has small variations in chemical composition. Strains can also be produced by crossing with other strains and can then be stabilised and grown in any optimum conditions consistently (this is exactly what we do with cannabis strains!).
To understand the concepts of strains, let’s look at the example we gave early in the article. Amazonian Cubensis and Golden Teachers are both Psilocybe cubensis species of mushrooms. However, they vary in chemical composition and give a slightly different effect, so we refer to them as different strains of the same species of magic mushrooms.
Is there a difference between strains? Yes — absolutely. Much like cannabis, magic mushrooms have an entourage effect which means that the different ratios of compounds produce different effects. Some might be more visual while others might be more physical. Some are stronger than others, making them less appropriate for beginners, and so on. For more detailed information on dosing, check out our Magic Mushroom dosage guide.
Let’s check out some of the different species and strains of magic mushrooms and what they’re all about!
This is just an informational article about the different varieties of magic mushrooms. This is not a guide for picking mushrooms. Only mycologists should go out and pick mushrooms. We don’t recommend going out to identify mushrooms beyond pure leisure, as it’s very easy to accidentally pick a poisonous mushroom. Please do not use this as a guide for picking mushrooms.
1. Golden Teachers — Psilocybe cubensis.
Golden Teachers are a strain of Psilocybe cubensis, and are marked by their golden top with little white spots. They’re given their name because they are “enlightening” in a gentle teacher kind of way.
The stems of Golden Teachers are quite thick, often growing in families. As they mature, the intensity of the golden top starts to fade, so it’s said that they’re at their biggest when the veils open up and start to drop spores.
Golden Teachers are good for beginners because they’re gentle on the psychedelia. There’s still a strong effect, but it seems they’re much better tolerated by beginners than other, stronger species of Psilocybe.
You can pick up Golden Teachers at the My Supply Co. store here.
2. Amazonian Cubensis — Psilocybe cubensis.
The Amazonian Cubensis has a thicker, fatter stem than the Golden Teachers and is quite fleshy. It’s primarily distributed in Central and South America but is now cultivated around the world. Amazonians are among the more potent varieties within Psilocybe cubensis.
This strain of Psilocybe might elicit more “wild”, “savage” feelings of enlightenment than Golden Teachers, which are typically much more gentle. They’re strong with heavier visuals than other, lighter varieties of Psilocybe too.
Dosing is recommended with caution for Amazonians unless you’re already heavily experienced in magic mushrooms.
You can pick up Amazonian Cubensis at the My Supply Co. store here.
3. African Transeki — Psilocybe cubensis.
As their name suggests, African Transkei’s hail from the African continent, South Africa to be specific. It’s the first strain of magic mushrooms to originate in Africa and be circulated around the world for cultivation.
When Transeki’s are young, they make bright orange caps but as they mature they turn white, so you might notice slightly different colouring on dried African Transekis.
Most lovers of African Transki mushrooms are those that love strong, psychedelic, visual effects. Less physical than other strains of magic mushrooms, African Transekis compensate with some of the strongest visuals.
Beginners should beware with their dosing of African Transekis because they can easily become “too much”.
Find African Transeki mushrooms at the My Supply Co. store here.
4. Fly Agaric — Amanita muscaria.
Throughout the temporal and northern regions of the northern hemisphere, Amanita muscaria grows wild. It was introduced by accident to the Southern Hemisphere and now grows almost anywhere the conditions will allow it. It’s the characteristic Christmas mushroom with a big red cap, covered in white spots.
Amanita muscaria are actually toxic if consumed fresh, out of the ground. It’s rumoured that drinking the pee of reindeer that consume the Amanita is safe, but there are also other safe ways it’s prepared. The toxic compounds of Amanita muscaria mushrooms are water soluble, so boiling them in a lot of water for a longer period of time leeches them out.
Toxicity is quite common with Amanitas, so they’re very rarely (if ever) available for commercial sale. It’s actually possible to die if they aren’t prepared correctly, so they’re left out of commercial circulation all together. We also don’t recommend walking down the road of Amanita muscaria mushrooms unless you’re doing it with someone who has had a lot of experience using this species of magic mushroom.
5. Blue Meanies — Panaeolus Cyanescens.
Blue Meanies are another, all together different species of magic mushroom. Rather than growing on thick stems, Blue Meanies grow on thin, wiry stems and have a narrow, almost pointy, white cap. They look considerably different to Psilocybe species.
Blue Meanies get their name because they are super potent — so they’re not considered the most friendly bunch. They’re considered among the most potent strains of magic mushrooms in the world, with almost twice the psilocybin content of other common mushroom species.
Get your hands on Blue Meanies at the My Supply Co. store here.
6. Psilocybe azurescens.
Psilocybe azurescens is a species of magic mushroom local to Canada. Though they originated in Oregon, they’ve spread across the Pacific West since the 80s. This species of mushrooms is a particularly wood loving species, preferring to grow on tanbark, under trees, and typically around the forest (in contrast to many other species which grow under cow dung).
It’s also thought that Psilocybe azurescens have stronger psilocybin and psilocin levels than other Psilocybes.
Interestingly, Psilocybe azurescens is able to produce a phenomenon called “wood lovers paralysis”. This is a transient form of muscle paralysis that only happens to some people, some of the time with wood loving species. It most commonly occurs with Psilocybe azurescens and Psilocybe cyanescens (not to be confused with Panaeolus cyanescens).
This strain is really only recommended for experienced mushroom users, if ever you come across it. The paralysis that is sometimes associated with Psilocybe azurescens is transient, and shouldn’t cause any concern.
7. Liberty Caps — Psilocybe semilanceata.
By comparison, Liberty Caps look much more like Blue Meanies than they do Golden Teachers. But they have a noticeably yellowish, pointy cap that is pale everywhere except for the tip. They love to grow on grassy fields but aren’t associated with cow dung.
Overall, people consider Liberty Caps to be pretty strong, but also friendly. According to some old research, Liberty Caps were considered among the strongest Psilocybes. However, that research took place in the 70s when fewer species of magic mushroom had been identified.
8. Teonanacatl/Mexicana — Psilocybe mexicana.
This species within the Psilocybe genus, as its name suggests, is native to Mexico. Its Aztec name (teonanacatl) literally translate to God-mushroom, or flesh of the Gods. It was used traditionally by the Aztec people for entheogenic purposes. It was this species of psilocybin mushroom that was used to isolate psilocybin and psilocin for the first time — it’s got quite the place in history.
In terms of appearance, they look a lot like Liberty Caps and Blue Meanies. The journey is strongly enlightening, much like Golden Teachers, but they also bring on a very visual experience too. It’s recommended that beginners start with a lower dose of Mexicana.
Pick up Mexicana mushrooms at the My Supply Co. store here.
There’s literally thousands more.
This is not an exhaustive list of magic mushroom species around the world. In fact, there are thousands more. One of the ongoing issues in mycology is the inability to identify varieties and strains. We are only aware of a small number of fungi species in the grand scheme of things.
Each part of the world typically has its own strains of magic mushrooms. Thanks to cultivation, we now have access to some of the world’s native strains, like those listed in this article. So this article gives you a small peek into the colourful world of fun-guys.
What are your favourite strains and species of magic mushrooms? Let us know in the comments.