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Q: What are those gold specks or flakes on my mushrooms? I'm relatively new to tripping, but they've been on every batch I've seen. I'm just wondering if they serve any actual purpose other than looking cool.

A: Although it is hard to be certain, what you are describing sounds very much like traces of vermiculite, which is a common soil additive used by mushroom growers as a “casing layer” on top of the mushroom growing medium to encourage fruiting. Vermiculite is a natural mineral that absorbs water and helps hold moisture in the soil. The small scaly particles, which are more of a bronze color than gold, can get caught on the mushrooms as they push through the soil. If you head to any garden store and look at a bag of vermiculite, you should be able to tell if this is what is on your mushrooms.

Vermiculite itself seems to pose no health risks if eaten in minute quantities. However, in the 1980s and 1990s the primary vermiculite mine in the United States produced material that was contaminated with asbestos. Although this is not likely a worry today (vermiculite is typically tested for contaminants prior to distribution), it can't hurt to brush off any residue on mushrooms before consuming them.

Asked By : Lazarus
Answered By : Jon
Edited By : Spoon, Fire
Published Date : 5 / 11 / 2009
Last Edited Date : 5 / 12 / 2009
Question ID : 3080

Categories: [ Cultivation ] [ Mushrooms (Psilocybin) ]

Ask Erowid v1.7 - Jul, 2005

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