Everything You Need to Know about Liberty Caps

Table of Content (Jump to a section): What are Liberty Caps, How did they get that name, Lifecycle of a Liberty Cap, What do Liberty Caps Look Like, Effects

Liberty caps are a type of hallucinogenic mushroom that is found in Europe, North America, and Asia although they are commonly associated as a european mushroom species. They are also commonly called liberty cap mushrooms or just “liberty caps” and their scientific name is Psilocybe semilanceata or P. semilanceata. Liberty caps have been used by people for hundreds of years as an entheogenic or psychoactive drug to induce hallucinations. The history behind these mushrooms is quite interesting. Continue reading to find out how they got their name, where they grow, and what are their effects.

What are liberty cap mushrooms?

The liberty cap mushroom is a type of mushroom that is known mostly for their psychoactive properties. It is a psilocybin-containing mushroom , meaning it has hallucinogenic compounds, that has been used in many cultures for their medicinal and spiritual effects. It is important to note that liberty caps can also be extremely poisonous mushrooms when consumed raw or incorrectly prepared. They are typically ingested but can also be dried and made into pill form or made into a tea. The legal status of these mushrooms vary from country to country and even municipality to municipality as seen in the USA with them being legal in certain parts of Colorado and Oregon but not in the rest of the country. 

liberty caps
Liberty Caps – Wikipedia

How did liberty cap mushrooms get their name?

Liberty cap mushrooms were named after the Liberty Cap, a hat that was worn by revolutionaries in France during protests against King Louis XVI during the 18th century. The cap worn by revolutionaries looked like a Phrygian cap, which is a soft conical cap with the top pulled forward.

What is the life cycle of liberty cap mushrooms?

The mushroom has a very short lifespan, usually growing only over the course of one or two nights after heavy rains. Since these types of mushrooms are considered to be mycorrhizal fungi, they form symbiotic relationships with various species of plant roots in order to survive and reproduce successfully.

The growth and development of liberty caps begin with a fertilized egg, which grows into an underground mycelium, which is the white cobweb-like stuff that many people mistake for mold, where it gathers water and nutrients from its substrate in order to survive. The mushroom then appears above ground as a fruiting body, which is how we see mushrooms today.

What do liberty cap mushrooms look like?

They can be found in different colors with brownish tops and white bottoms. It is important to know that all species of these mushrooms contain psychoactive substances called psilocybin which is what causes the effects of taking liberty cap mushrooms. Liberty caps are small and conical in shape with a wide variety of colors such as brownish or yellow-brown capped with dark olive gills beneath the mushroom’s cap. The stem or stalk is hollow and will bruise a bluish color when handled. The liberty cap mushrooms got their name from the small conical-shaped caps, which are typically between one to four centimeters tall.

Liberty cap mushrooms are a type of psychedelic mushroom that contains psychoactive substances known as psilocybin and/or baeocystin. The liberty cap mushrooms are a part of the genus Psilocybe and the family Strophariaceae, which includes other magic mushrooms such as the psilocybe semilanceata, panaeolus cyanescens, azurescens, and tropicales.

What are the effects of taking liberty cap mushrooms?

The effects of taking liberty cap mushrooms are typically felt within thirty minutes to one hour after consumption, although the onset time can vary depending upon how much is taken. The most common effects of liberty caps are euphoria, visual and auditory hallucinations, stimulation or sedation depending on dosage, mydriasis or pupil dilation, and loss of equilibrium.

The effects of liberty caps last four to six hours, although it can be a lot shorter for some people depending upon individual factors such as body weight, metabolism rate, and tolerance.

The physical effects include increased heart rate and blood pressure, nausea, stomach cramps, pupil dilation, blurred vision.

The psychological effects of liberty caps include elevated mood, feeling of relaxation and well-being, peacefulness, spiritual enhancement where you especially feel one in nature or with the universe, ego inflation, or ego loss.

The typical symptoms of liberty caps can vary depending upon the dosage. People who take a smaller dose will typically experience more of an energetic and stimulating effect, while people who ingest larger doses will usually experience more sedative and psychedelic effects.

People who take a high dose of liberty cap mushrooms may suffer from delusions, paranoia, anxiety, and hallucinations. There have been a few cases where people on high doses of liberty caps had delusions that they were being watched by the FBI or CIA and became extremely paranoid. These types of effects can sometimes last for days, weeks, or months depending upon the person and their individual factors.

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What is the difference between a liberty cap and Psilocybe cubensis?

The main difference between the liberty cap and psilocybe cubensis mushrooms are the color of the mushroom, the geographical location where it is found, and its ability to be cultivated. A psilocybe cubensis typically has a brown cap and brown gills and is found mostly in tropical and subtropical climates like Mexico, Central America, and South America.

Psilocybe cubensis has effects that are similar to other psychedelic drugs like LSD or psilocybin, which is the psychoactive ingredient found in liberty caps. Both liberty caps and Psilocybe Cubensis contain the same psychoactive compound, psilocybin. Liberty caps are not necessarily stronger than psilocybe cubensis; however, in a comparison of potency, liberty caps typically contain higher psilocybin concentrations than Psilocybe Cubensis does. Another difference is the fact that liberty caps are very difficult to grow indoors so nobody does it, while p. cubensis shrooms are cultivated indoors much easier than liberty caps.

Where are liberty cap mushrooms found?

These mushrooms have a widespread distribution area but the best place to find liberty caps is in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Liberty caps mushrooms grow in pastures, meadows, forests, grasslands near trees such as oak or birch all over the world.

Liberty cap mushrooms are usually found growing in clusters or groups on dead moss or grass, although they can sometimes be found embedded into the ground, in between rocks and trees. Liberty caps do not grow on dung like P. cubensis mushrooms.


Liberty caps are psychedelic mushrooms that contain psilocybin and can induce hallucinations, euphoria, fearlessness, and a loss of boundaries in the mind. The effects typically last around four to six hours with a range from two to ten hours depending upon dosage and individual factors such as body weight, metabolism rate, and tolerance. The effects of liberty caps can vary depending upon the dosage people intake; however, it is important to note that people who take a high dose of liberty caps may suffer from delusions, paranoia, anxiety, and hallucinations. These magic mushrooms got their name from looking like a cap that French revolutionaries wore during the 1790s. Liberty cap mushrooms are found all over the world, are very difficult to grow indoors, and are typically found growing in clusters or groups on dead moss or grass. This means that they are typically cultivated as wild mushrooms and not indoors from cultivators. Should you have any further questions, please consult our other articles.

References, Research and Sources:

  • Liberty cap: the surprising tale of how Europe’s magic mushroom got its name – How on earth did an obscure Roman social practice end up lending its name to a modern psychedelic? (theconversation.com)
  • Liberty Cap (Psilocybe semilanceata) – Psilocybe semilanceata, commonly known as the liberty cap, is a psilocybin or ‘magic’ mushroom that contains the psychoactive compounds psilocybin, psilocin and baeocystin. It is both one of the most widely distributed psilocybin mushrooms in nature, and one of the most potent. The mushrooms have a … (inaturalist.org)
  • Psilocybe semilanceata, Magic Mushroom, Liberty Cap (first-nature.com)
  • Psilocybe semilanceata – Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org)
  • Liberty Caps: What They Are & Risks of Taking – Liberty caps have been known and documented as an intoxicant since 1799 when they were first ingested by a British family. (myrecoverycorps.com)

Fact Checked and Editorial Process

The Magical Mushroom is devoted to producing expert and accurate articles and information for our readers by tapping into psychedelic users, experts, journalists, and growing community. We encourage you to read more about our content, editing, and fact checking methods here. This was fact checked by Chris Riley.

Published by Corey Riley

Owner, entrepreneur, enthusiast of natural medicine

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