A Golden Guide to Hallucinogenic Plants

Boing Boing reader Kenneth is a weird-and-rare book lover who is painstakingly scanning and posting online some of his favorite obscurities. Among the Golden Guides he's posted (dig the iconic visual style!) is the exceedingly hard-to-find and out of print "Golden Guide to Hallucinogenic Plants" from 1976. I haven't seen it in the wild in ages; it's as rare as an Amanita Muscaria in Siberia. Where, by the way, the native people once ritually drank each other's pee so multiple people could trip off a single 'shroom.

Do check out the rest of his Golden Guide collection, while it lasts.

Update: Pesco has blogged about the "Hallucinogenic Plants" one before.


  1. Having been to Siberia, I’m here to tell you that I”m not remotely shocked at the pee-sharing. They were very generous with their vodka, so I guess that’s just the next logical step.

    1. If you didn’t see the spirits of your dead relatives or think you had turned into an eagle then it was just vodka.

      1. I’m not really sure of the context of Miss Grey doing that, and am rather reluctant to type “Sasha Grey drinks own urine” into google, for fear the internet might think ill of me.

    1. I would love to convince a bunch of homeopathic stoners to keep “recycling” the same single dose of a drug through its excreted products.

      Okay, I wouldn’t, but a little snarky fun on Monday never hurt anyone.

        1. If you shotgun back and forth between the same two people (in a group) more than twice, it’s making out, not toking.

  2. “I haven’t seen it in the wild in ages; it’s as rare as an Amanita Muscaria in Siberia.”  Really?  From Wikipedia: ” Amanita muscaria is now primarily famed for its hallucinogenic properties, with its main psychoactive constituent being the compound muscimol. It was used as an intoxicant and entheogen by the peoples of Siberia and has a religious significance in these cultures. There has been much speculation on traditional use of this mushroom as an intoxicant in places other than Siberia; however, such traditions are far less well documented.significance in these cultures

  3. Interestingly, the precedent for hallucinogenic pee drinking is actually ancient. The four Vedas have entire sections with poems and texts about the Soma, which is believed by some to have been the Amanita Muscaria. By accounts it was common for lower-class (caste?) citizens to sit outside the assemblies where it was consumed to wait for a… um… “donor”. I rememeber reading a translation somewhere that read “In the belly of India, soma is filtered.” I could believe that this practice would easily have made its way into north Asia. In fact, it may be one of the reasons that the assumption that Soma was actually the Amanita is made. That’s purely speculation on my part. Some interesting reading:

  4. Can someone please up the pdf somewhere for me to d/l?

    I don’t need yet another account, and I certainly ain’t gonna log in to Facefuck.

    1. It’s been available on Erowid for years.  Here is the link: http://www.erowid.org/library/books/hallucinogenic_plants.shtml

      Edit: I thought they had the PDF there but it is an online read with the added option of downloading a rather clunky version which is a mix of jpgs and html links.

  5. I had this book, good stuff. The part with the Amazonian tribesmen blowing things up each others noses always seemed extreme, I was only 15 though…

  6. Here’s a useful rule of thumb to see if a drug is generally safe and has a useful self-knowledge purpose, or is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs:

    Check the DEA drug scheduling classification.

    Is it labelled ‘I’, having no value whatsoever and highly dangerous?

    It’s A-OK!

    Is it labelled ‘II’, having some medical value and general safety?

    Be warned, son! Steer clear!

    That rule applies to pretty much every drug in both category…

  7. I know this book. A wise and noble bookstore clerk pulled it out from behind the counter to give it to a friend of mine, a really smiley, teenage, long-hair boy. Fascinating stuff for sure.

  8. aha! I have this book. I will certainly keep much better care of it knowing how rare it is. It really is a gem.

  9.  I used to have a ton of these little books when I was a kid. I remember seeing this one in the title list in the back of the books when I was a kid and asking my mom about it. I asked my mom said I wouldn’t be interested in that. So I looked up “hallucinogenic” in the Britannica index and found out more than I needed to know.

    Bus really, what is the orange flower in the upper left. Looks like lantana, but the leaves are wrong. I recognize the morning glory and datura flowers, but what is that orange thing?

    Word of warning: Do NOT mess with morning glory, bindweed, moon flower. or datura. That shit will fuck you up and you won’t even remember what happened. I got enough wild morning glory to incapacitate a platoon growing on my patio wall.

    OTOH, datura is not so strong that it can be used as a date rape drug simply by handing someone a datura soaked business card, as is rumored in Columbia. Whoever believes this must not know what datura does. Yes, it causes memory loss, but you have to ingest quite a bit. But it in no way incapacitates. It’s kinda like PCP in that it makes people unpredictable.

    1. OMG, I still have this book.  My mom would buy me these little books regularly.  I guess she didn’t check this one out too carefully.

      I always thought the scene of the Amazonian tribesmen blowing hallucinogenic tree bark snuff up each others nose was especially bizarre.

      Some of these plants are hallucinogenic like a sledgehammer will make you see stars.  They work in a pretty blunt fashion and probably cause some damage.

    2. My experience with morning glory was very pleasant, fun, and relatively clear-headed, after the initial nausea. Lots of wonderful visual effects!

    3. Re morning glory – if by “fuck you up and you won’t even remember what happened” you mean “you’ll have a mild, pleasant trip accompanied by a stomach ache”, that’s about right in my experience.  Unless you go way overboard with dosage, presumably.

      I understand there are ways of preparing the seeds so as to eliminate or at least reduce the stomach ache.

  10. The plant at the top left is Sinicuichi (Heimia salicifolia) according to the book. The illustrations inside the book have more accurate coloring (the flower is actually yellow). I can even verify this as I have the plant growing in my yard. It is listed as an auditory hallucinogen, but I’ve never tried it (“Either deafness or auditory hallucinations may result, with voices or sounds distorted and seeming to come from a distance.”) It grows surprisingly well with little water on the central California coast.

    1. Thanks! I didn’t get that far through the book…

      It sounds like an interesting one, but it’s a bit curious that it made the front cover.

  11. Mind-Altering and Poisonous Plants of the World may have more accurate information than a Golden Guide.Xeni:  it’s Amanita muscaria, not Muscaria

  12. I’ve still got this book too along with a fairly full collection of other Golden Guides.  I think I bought my copy back in 1979 at a B Daltons in San Bernardino along with the “Herbs and Spices” guide which I think is still in print.  I wonder what year all the copies were pulled from the shelves?

    1. In one of Terence McKenna’s talks regarding books about hallucinogenic plants, he felt that the Golden book was an excellent condensed version of Schultes book “Plants of the Gods”.

    1. Actually, not necessary. Viewing the cover as a single page and then the following pages as two page spreads is a setting in the PDF reader. In Acrobat it’s 

      View->Page Display->Show Cover Page in Two-Page View

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