Bonus of Hurricane Irene: Lots of Magic Mushrooms

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The havoc wreaked by Hurricane Irene has an upside: the hurricane may have created favorable conditions for mushrooms to grow in the wild. As Bowery Boogie reported earlier, penis-shaped red mushrooms have sprouted up on East 2nd Street since the storm, and they're not the only ones -- the magic psilocybin kind are also sprouting up everywhere.

According to this article by our favorite Weird News maven David Moye, shrooms grow best in moist environments (check) and their spores are spread by winds (check).

Can magic mushrooms be found in New York and New Jersey? "Oh, absolutely," said Terri Layton, president of the New Jersey Mycological Association. Layton said she imagines that the storm probably did increase the number of shrooms to be had in NY and NJ.

Going hunting? Here's a description of what to look for from Fungi Magazine, the Cat Fancy of fungal enthusiasts:

Most species of Psilocybe, hallucinogenic or not, are small and thin fleshed. All are saprobic - some on dung, some on woody debris, some on other plant remains, some on soil and others among mosses. The cap is smooth, often a bit viscid (slimy), sometimes with a few small appressed squamules (small scales) or veil remnants, colored whitish, ochraceous, grayish, buff, brown or red-brown, often hygrophanous (the color lightens to pale tan as the cap loses moisture, often starting in the center). Most of the hallucinogenic species bruise from slightly blue to intensely blue-black.

Layton also said that some shrooms can be found attached to trees. Not that we're encouraging you to go mushroom-picking, readers, especially since choosing the wrong kind of mushroom could be poisonous. Just saying, carpe diem, etc.

(ed.note, Memory Lane edition: As we noted around this time last summer, New York is also where you can find datura or "Jimsonweed," an absolutely terrifying hallucinogen that we do not endorse searching for.)

[rgray@villagevoice.com] [@_rosiegray]

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