In Real Life, mushrooms, toadstools, and fungi comprise a vast array of types and genera. While a few are cultivated for food, and some for medicinal or religious (or hallucinogenic) purposes, others are so toxic they are outright lethal, so one should never assume that a mushroom found in the wild is safe to eat without consulting a reference book (or better yet, a trained expert who can distinguish between seemingly identical specimens). Further, the visible mushrooms are actually just the tip of a proverbial iceberg, with the vast majority of the organism being a large underground colony of microscopic, threadlike hyphae. Some colonies can be counted as one of the largest communal organisms on the planet. And the ability of fungi to reproduce via infectious microscopic spores allows them to grow in just about any environment (including inside living bodies), and can make it nearly impossible to get rid of a fungus infestation.
Fictional mushrooms can do all of the above, and more: Eating a mushroom can produce downright magical effects (like making you bigger or smaller, turning you invisible, etc.), and getting infected by mushroom spores can not only make you sick, but physically transform you into a monster, possibly taking over your mind in the process; villains in particular can even weaponize the spores, turning them into a tool for Mind Control or Brainwashing unsuspecting innocents.
Often used by witches, as it's a symbol of their knowledge of the nature around them. What they do with it is another matter. Toadstools appear to be most common in healing potions or poisons, though the last one does not require much magic. Toadstools and brightly colored mushrooms are often hiding places for smaller members of the Fair Folk. In some cases, the fungi, usually mushroom-like, can even become ambulatory. This is usually not a good thing, unless they just want to dance.
Hallucinogenic mushrooms are a popular way for a Junkie Prophet to unlock his powers, based on the fact that mushrooms containing psilocybin have a history of being used in real life shamanic rituals.
- An Anpanman theatrical short had a field full of mushrooms with a weird powder that affected emotions. There were four types: laughter, sadness, anger, and sneezing. Baikinman managed to harvest the mushrooms into a liquid squirt gun, that when used, made the victim randomly go through the symptoms.
- One Piece:
- Luffy almost dies after eating an odd mushroom that causes mushrooms to sprout rapidly from all over his body.
- Django, once a pirate under Kuro, and then a Marine has the power of hypnosis because he ate a Mushroom. The downside is, now he has a stem of the mushroom growing from his chin like a beard. Oh, and he also tends to fall asleep whenever he hypnotizes someone. But that one seems to be no fault of the mushroom.
- Ranma ½:
- Age-altering mushrooms. The height of the mushroom corresponded to the age into which it changed the eater: A 4 cm mushroom makes the eater 4-years-old, a 17 cm one 17-years-old, etc. Why the mushrooms worked with the metric system is not explained. (Apparently, even nature has made the switch to metric before the USA.)
- Then there's the mushroom which, immediately after eaten, makes the victim susceptible to a single "post-hypnotic command" which will be performed whenever they hear the same sound as was around when the suggestion was made. (Why someone selling ingredients to a restaurant would be carrying some of those around with him is anyone's guess.)
- The anime also had vaguely explained "Mushrooms of Love" that caused people who ate some to fall into a state of love that could only be cured by the local "Mushroom God", an extremely large mushroom with healing properties that also included curing mushroom poisoning. If they didn't eat some soon enough (Ranma and Akane, the victims in the episode, had until the first evening star came out), the effect would become permanent. It's never made clear exactly what caused specific couples to form from eating the mushrooms.
- The strange red mushrooms that grow underneath Seconds. Eating one grants the ability to correct one's mistake in the past.
- Used to horrific effect in Warren Ellis' Supergod, where a rocket test Gone Horribly Wrong creates an Eldritch Abomination that Was Once a Mannote that constantly spreads a Festering Fungus everywhere. The Eldritch Abomination in question is a massive humanoid covered in thousands of alien mushrooms that compels everyone around it to worship it. Before the scientists studying it began taking anti-fungal medications, several of them died because it began to spawn hundreds of fungal growths shaped like human heads inside their bodies.
- Played with in the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "The New Shop In The Village", where the Smurfs who get high on moonberries start eating the roof of the Wake N Bake Brew Shop, thinking that the mushrooms that are used to build Smurf houses will give them hallucinations.
- The mushroom dance in Fantasia.
- In the live-action film The Bear, the titular bear eats psilocybin mushrooms. Hilarity Ensues.
- In Shrooms, American student Tara and her college friends visit Ireland to meet with local resident and friend Jake, and go camping in woodlands surrounding a long-disused children's home. While collecting psilocybin mushrooms for later consumption, Tara eats a death bell mushroom and suffers a seizure after which she experiences dream-like trances in which she begins having premonitions of future events. later all the campers imbibe mushroom tea, and go into the forest where they get separated and start experiencing bizarre hallucinations. This is especially bad news as someone, or something, is stalking and killing them.
- The Caterpillar's mushroom in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Eating one side of it makes you grow taller, eating the other side makes you grow shorter.
- In Aztec , Tzitzi steals a mushroom from the temple in order to seduce Mixtli. Later, an ex-priest (and, Mixtli hypothesizes but never proves, Motecuzoma) sacrifices his genitals on the altar while in a mushroom ecstasy.
- The Children in Galaxy of Fear live mostly off fungi, and even though they're human each one of them is so thin as to be skeletal. There's just not much to eat on Dagobah. However, they're still agile and quite strong.
- An apprentice shaman in The Light Fantastic is drugged up on both sacred toadstools and mystic mushrooms, in the hope of a vision of Topaxci, God of the Red Mushroom. Instead he gets glared at by the Luggage, and would have run away if he'd been capable of such a complex sequence of movements. The same book also has a gnome who lives in a bright red toadstool with white spots, a variety which the aforementioned shaman would only eat after tying himself to a rock.
- Loyal Enemies: During their stay with the trolls, the party are presented with a pot of pickled fly agarics. Suspicious that the trolls are trying to pull something funny — also, the stuff looks disgusting — , Shelena declares that since Veres is always hungry, he may have the entire pot. Eating it all makes him so sleepy, he cannot attend the trolls' grand spirit ceremony, but scrashes it midway behaving like he's either possessed or hallucinating. Turns out, the trolls never meant to poison the heroes. Instead, fly agaric is a rare delicacy for them and that was the last pot their leader had stashed away and it wouldn't have had any major effects has Veres not eaten the entire pot.
- In the Necroscope books mushrooms growing on a vampire's grave can cause someone to be vampirised themselves.
- Elatsoe: Mushrooms are used by fae-descendants to build fairy rings for Fast Travel.
- The titular starship of Star Trek: Discovery uses a network of magic space fungus to jump across light-years of space in the blink of an eye, facilitated by the inventor of the drive system interfacing with the network via the spores of said fungus. Outsiders typically have a hard time comprehending the fact that it works.
Commander Saru: Questions or concerns before we depart, Captain?
Captain Pike: If you're telling me that this ship can skip across the universe on a highway made of mushrooms, I kinda have to go on faith.
- The song "My Fault" by Eminem is about the singer accidentally letting his girlfriend overdose on these.
- The first Nuggets compilation of 1960s garage-punk ends with "It's A-Happening" by the Magic Mushrooms, possibly the most hippie song ever.
Spray the weeds!
A zephyr breeze!
A mushroom hangs — above — the ground.
- Matt Bellamy of Muse claims to have written "Plug In Baby" whilst on Magic Mushrooms...which explains its Word Salad Lyrics.
- Time Fantasy takes place in a field of mushrooms set among a surreal rainbow-colored landscape. Adding to the trippiness is something about anthropomorphic snails accumulating time.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Multiple adventures by Gary Gygax himself (who had mushrooms as a Creator Thumbprint).
- S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. One room has mushrooms which give special benefits if eaten. Red ones cure one Hit Point of damage, purple ones grant infravision and yellow-gray ones give immunity to poison for a time.
- EX1 Dungeonland has several types of fungi, including Death Angel (touching them causes death), Cup Fungi (touching cause acid damage), Giant Puffball (explode if struck or punctured), Horsetail Mushroom (if eaten, double the rate of recovery of Hit Points and movement speed for 10 minutes) and Toadstool (If touched, turn into a Giant Toad and attack).
- S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. One area of the crashed starship has fungi with rose and cerise branches. Any creature that consumes it will move at double normal speed for two minutes.
- Basic D&D adventure O2 Blade of Vengeance has five types of magical mushrooms. Eating one of the first four types has the same effect as casting the spell Neutralize Poison, Haste, Clairvoyance or Cure Light Wounds on the eater, and the last type is so nourishing that eating it is the equivalent of a full meal.
- Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, a 5E sourcebook, includes a chapter on unusual and otherworldly phenomena that includes a description of supernatural mushrooms, which might be found growing in the Underdark, in the Feywild, or in other areas with powerful background magic. The list of possible results for eating one of these includes the character's skin turning brightly colored and boldly patterned, being shrunk or turned giant a la Alice in Wonderland, being healed, becoming unable to say anything but chicken noises, gaining telepathy or the ability to speak with plants, or having clouds of mist pour from the eater's eyes and mouth.
- There are also the Campestri, cute little Fantasia-style animate mushrooms who live in forests — and sing!
- Multiple adventures by Gary Gygax himself (who had mushrooms as a Creator Thumbprint).
- Warhammer Fantasy Battle: The Goblins use these in their brews to turn their more... enthusiastic warriors into unstoppable fanatics. They can also be used by their shamans to bolster their magic.
- The Adventures of Robin Hood has magic mushrooms that will bring you Back from the Dead.
- Angband has various types of mushrooms, a few of which have beneficial effects when eaten. Of course, telling which ones are Poison Mushrooms can be tricky without scrolls or spells of identify... And then there's the Mushrooms of Hallucination. The game also has "magic mushrooms," which are mushroom monsters that cast spells at you.
- The Binding of Isaac:
- The game pays homage to Super Mario Bros. with various mushroom power-ups, most notably the Magic Mushroom, Mini Mush, 1up!, and Mega Mush, all four in their colorful Mario glory with unique 8-bit versions of the pickup sound.
- There exist other mushroom items themed around the other kind of magic mushroom, typically with upsides and downsides. Blue Cap raises tears and health at the cost of shot speed, (Skinny) Odd Mushroom raises speed and tears but lowers damage, (Fat) Odd Mushroom raises health and damage at the cost of speed, and Wavy Cap (formerly known as Black Mushroom in Antibirth) can be activated for a stackable tears boost at the cost of progressively distorting the screen. There's also God's Flesh, a slang term for psychedelic mushrooms, which gives a chance to shrink enemies temporarily.
- Collecting any three mushroom items in one run will grant the Fun Guy transformation, granting a red heart and turning Isaac into a horrifying, soulless Mushroom Man.
- The Red Mushroom and Blue Mushroom in Boktai respectively make the eater shrink and invisible.
- Cave Story has the Ma Pignon mushroom, which cures amnesia even when eaten by a robot. In a twist, you have to fight the mushroom, which understandably doesn't want to be eaten.
- Dungeons of Dredmor has a variety of interesting fungi that your character can collect. All can be eaten for various effects, most of which are good (except for the poisonous Mud Wen), and many can be used as ingredients for alchemy. There's even a whole skill tree devoted to mushrooms, Fungal Arts.
- In The Elder Scrolls series, mushrooms and other fungi are common ingredients in Alchemy, used to craft both potions and poisons. Played realistically, as the mushrooms often have various negative effects in addition to positive, depending on how you mix the potion.
- Enough Plumbers, a Super Mario Bros. parody, turns the mushroom powerups into psilocybin mushrooms.
- Fallout: New Vegas: Cave fungus is an ingredient of the limb-restoring chem Hydra, and with the Honest Hearts DLC, Blood Shield and Healing Poultices.
- Golden Sun has a sidequest where an old couple asks you to being them a mushroom. The catch being that there's two of them, the Laughing Fungus and the Healing Fungus. Bringing them the latter rewards you with a Mars Djinni. Show the Laughing Fungus to the fortuneteller at Naribwe, and he'll tell you where the next story event is, although you still have to figure out how to get there.
- King's Quest I, in a reference to Alice in Wonderland, has a shrinking mushroom that you need to get out of the Land of the Leprechauns and back to the west side of the river. Wasted it or went underground without it? Congrats, now your game is unwinnable.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening have mushrooms that can be taken to a witch to make Magic Powder, which can turn chickens into humans and spirits into fairies, awake sleeping demons, light fires and kill certain types of enemies. In Link's Awakening, the mushroom itself also turned a guy into a tanuki. Sprinkling Magic Powder on it turns the guy back to normal.
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Multiple types of mushrooms grow in the wilds of Hyrule, and when harvested and cooked can confer bonuses like elemental resistances or increased stealth, strength, toughness, stamina and speed. Silent shrooms, in particular, also glow blue at night.
- Metal Gear Solid 3: "These Glowing Mushrooms recharged my batteries!"
- Worth noting is that after Naked Snake mentions this, Para-Medic consults with one of the other Mission Control agents over how the hell that's even possible.
- Minecraft: Though there aren't too many magic properties besides some potion possibilities, the mushrooms are mostly just used for food. They can however grow to unusual size, which is pretty magical, and can infest cows, too.
- Mother 3 has the mushrooms of Tanetane Island. Suffice to say, your party is railroaded into eating them, and creepy hallucinations ensue.
- Pikmin: The Puffstool enemy is a waddling mushroom with eyestalks whose spores will turn your Pikmin into zombie-like Mushroom Pikmin under its control. There are also the Common Glowcaps, blue or pink bioluminescent mushrooms which provide light in cave areas — very useful when phosbats are about.
- The Hypno-shroom in Plants vs. Zombies causes Mook Face Turns.
- Paras is an insect-like creature with a pair of mushrooms growing on its back. In its evolved form Parasect, the mushrooms have merged into a single cap and taken over the bug's higher brain functions.
- Gen III introduced Shroomish, which evolves into Breloom, a bizarre mushroom-dinosaur hybrid that's part Fighting-type.
- And Gen V has Foongus and its evolution Amoongus, apparently sentient mushrooms whose spore releases can sicken and poison people or Pokemon in the area.
- Gen VII's Morelull is part Fairy-type and appears to be a walking cluster of fungus hyphae with three mushrooms sprouting from the top. They glow in the dark — staring at their lights induces sleepiness — but it's not known what happens if you eat their mushrooms.
- There are also several mushroom items, but they mostly just serve as Shop Fodder.
- In Quest for Glory I, there is a ring of magic mushrooms somewhere in the forest which is protected by the fairies at night. If they see you go inside their ring, they will dance you to death. Their only true use is to be given to the healer for a gold coin apiece. Eating one will make the screen briefly flash with colors, and eating more will kill you.
- Something: Hasardous House is based around the gimmick of the ? Mushroom. Its effects are randomized.
- The various versions of mushrooms in Super Mario Bros. have many different effects. The most famous are the Super Mushroom (which makes you grow in size and allows you to take two hits instead of one) and the 1-Up Mushroom (which gives you an extra life). There also exist a couple common ones like the Poison Mushroom (which counts as taking a hit), the Mini Mushroom (which shrinks you significantly in size but causes any attack to be a One-Hit Kill) and the Mega Mushroom (which makes you grow gigantic and invincible). And that's without counting all the other ones: there exist many more types like the Life Mushroom, the Spring Mushroom, the Bee Mushroom, the Boo Mushroom, the Rock Mushroom, the Propeller Mushroom...
- Tales of Maj'Eyal: The Fungus talent category is a mix of this and Festering Fungus. Fungal talents are all based on regeneration effects; extending their duration, gaining an Extra Turn when a regeneration effect starts, recovering Equilibrium while regenerating, etc.
- Terraria: Regular mushrooms can be eaten to restore a tiny amount of health, and are used to craft most basic healing potions. More powerful Glowing Mushrooms can be found in mushroom biomes underground, which can craft stronger potions and much later in the game be turned into Shroomite bars. Additionally, Corruption/Crimson will grow Vile/Vicious Mushrooms that can be turned into powder to spread evil terrain.
- In Touhou, Cute Witch Marisa Kirisame uses phantasmal mushrooms to power most of her magic according to supplementary material.
- The Dementia of Magic has Raikkes: striped mushrooms which enhance magic.
- This is how the entire plot of Mini Mari! is kicked off: Marisa finds a strange mushroom, eats it, and turns into a child, both in body and mind. She later eats another mushroom that gives her temporary cat ears and a tail, and Reimu learns the hard way that mentioning that you want to do a mushroom hot pot within earshot of the minified and very mushroom-enthusiastic Marisa is a bad idea.
- The Crew of the Copper-Colored Cupids: Toadstools with various supernatural effects are among the products on sale in the Interdimensional Black Market. The white-colored ones can turn people into obedient wraiths, and are employed by the local crime boss to keep herself supplied with minions.
- There's a class of entomopathogenic fungi that act as mind control parasites. Of these, the most studied is commonly known as the "zombie ant fungus".