Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World: An Identification Guide 1st Edition

43 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0898158397
ISBN-10: 0898158397
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

PAUL STAMETS is the founder of Fungi Perfecti and codirector and founder of the Rainforest Mushroom Genome and Mycodiversity Preservation Project. He is the author of two seminal textbooks, The Mushroom Cultivator and GROWING GOURMET AND MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS, has been published in numerous journals, and is presenting more lectures on mycology than he can keep track of. An advisor and consultant to the Program for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Medical School and the 1998 recipient of the Collective Heritage Institute’s Bioneers Award, Stamets lives in Kamilche Point, Washington with his collection of more than 250 medicinal mushroom cultures.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; 1 edition (October 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898158397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898158397
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"Paul Stamets has been a dedicated mycologist for over twenty years. Over this time, he has discovered and coauthored four new species of mushrooms, and pioneered countless techniques in the field of edible and medicinal mushroom cultivation. He received the 1998 ""Bioneers Award"" from The Collective Heritage Institute, and the 1999 ""Founder of a New Northwest Award"" from the Pacific Rim Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils.

He has written five books on mushroom cultivation, use and identification; his books Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms and The Mushroom Cultivator (coauthor) have long been hailed as the definitive texts of mushroom cultivation. Other works by Paul Stamets include Psilocybe Mushrooms and Their Allies (out of print), Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World, MycoMedicinals: an Informational Treatise on Mushrooms, and many articles and scholarly papers."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

171 of 176 people found the following review helpful By Jaundiced Eye on March 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
This lavishly photo-illustrated and smoothly-written book details all of the psilocybin-containing mushrooms generally known up to the date of publication, including those outside of the species Psilocybe and some extremely rare ones known only from a single location or from a single event (sometimes mysterious magic mushrooms crop up after storms but are never seen again unless spores are taken from them and grown under controlled conditions).

Stamets explains the often-conflicting taxonomy of Psilocybe mushrooms (one species, for example, received two different names because two writing teams who had travelled together wrote it up separately -- one published first and *their* name has "priority," even though some people use the name given by the other team; despite the name difference the mushroom described is the same species).

Stamets is no prude. He writes quite bluntly about psilocybin-containing mushrooms (including his own tripping on them), and he is EXTREMELY (and justly) critical of other mycologists who not only refuse to describe such mushrooms, but, in one case Stamets cites, have said that it is better for people to die from eating poisonous mushrooms than for people to be able to safely identify psilocybin-containing mushrooms! Stamets gives descriptions and photos of poisonous look-alike mushrooms and gives a step-by-step identification procedure for the psilocybin 'shrooms. In most cases identification is straightforward and can be done within a few minutes; in other cases look-alikes can be lethal and suspect mushrooms have to be carefully gone over to avoid poisoning.
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91 of 98 people found the following review helpful By LVX on September 4, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World" is a first-rate reference on psilocybes, and one that I would enthusiastically recommend to anybody with an interest. That said, however, I'd like to weigh in with a bit of personal advice on the subject: Even for experienced mycologists, mushroom identification can be a difficult process. Would you be willing to stake your life on whether a mushroom's spores are rust-brown, as opposed to a rusty purplish-brown? That's a pretty subjective call, and the only way to be 100% certain is to throw spore and tissue samples on the microscope. Many edible mushrooms have deadly look-alikes, and to make matters worse, every known mushroom has variant strains. By following the guidelines in this book, an inexperienced enthusiast can be *reasonably* certain that he or she has correctly identified a field specimen, but even the best field guide is no substitute for experience and good judgment (as Stamets himself states repeatedly in this book!). This is a great reference work for anybody with an interest in mycology, but it shouldn't be mistaken for a "green light" to pick wild mushrooms for personal consumption.

That said, this book is a real gem, with detailed summary descriptions of several dozen known and suspected psilocybes. Each description is accompanied by at least one color photograph. Stamets uses very scientific terminology in describing each psilocybe-- considering the consequences of a false identification, it's important for the author to be as precise in his descriptions as possible-- but there are also several helpful pages of charts at the end of the book which explain what all of this technical jargon means.

This is far and away the best field guide to psilocybe mushrooms that I've seen so far. I can truly recommend this work without reservation!
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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
The first 5 chapters of this book had me glued to the pages. The book starts off with some fascinating history and personal information about psilocybin mushrooms. The rest of the book gives some very detailed information for hunting them. Some of the pictures are rather small, but for the most part identification is very helpfull with this book, but I would get at least one other field guide to go with it.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 19, 1997
Format: Paperback
This book is the best single resource for information about Psilocybin mushrooms. The book starts out with a brief history of the use of these mushrooms, and then moves on to a
general review on their nature and habitat. There is an extensive section listing many different kinds of Psilocybes and similar mushrooms with a thorough description and photograph on most of them.

If there is a single flaw in this book, it would be that the pictures are small, and therefore difficult to scan for details. Also, some of the pictures aren't very good in general, making it difficult to see how the mushrooms in the pictures match the descriptions in the book. I would suggest more and bigger photographs for the second edition of this book.
I highly recommend this book to anyone with any kind of interest in Psilocybe mushrooms
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is a must for any enthusiest of Magic Mushrooms. The Photographs and detailed descriptions of the various species make this book a definite must for anyone wanting to identify Magic mushrooms, including deadly look alikes. The book is a complete guide, from history, experiences and all relative information that you could want. Paul Stamet's is "The Man" of mushrooms and a lot of his time and effort has gone into making this book factual and interesting. Hope you enjoy this book a much a I have.
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