Edibility / Toxicity

Boletes and Ceps are the leading groups of mushrooms picked in Eastern Canada and throughout the world. Easily identified by the tubes beneath their caps. Boletes and Ceps are popular with amateur mycologists because of the popular belief that: “they can be picked and eaten without risk of poisoning.”

What most amateurs and commercial pickers don’t realize is that good, very good or excellent mushrooms are the minority; many mushrooms are toxic or of unknown edibility. Consequently, of the one hundred and eleven species listed in this guide, only sixty-one (or 55%) should be picked for eating. They are classified as follow:

Choice edible: 2 2%
Very good edible: 8 7%
Good edible: 21 19%
Edible 30 27%
Unknown edibility or toxicity:
12 11%
Inedible: 27 24%
Very bitter: 6 5%
Toxic: 5 5%
Total: 111 100%

Very few people have the ability to recognize these mushrooms and the keys to doing so are so complex that identifying them is reserved to a very limited group of researchers or taxonomy specialists.

The goal of this guide is to allow all pickers to visually recognize the boletes that they have just harvested, by following the visual keys and confirming their identification by comparing them to numerous photos describing each species.

With identification problems resolved, picking can be focused solely on quality species, allowing amateurs to taste delicious mushrooms and chefs to offer their clients safe food with a flavour enhanced by forest mushrooms picked in a healthy environment.

Everyone can therefore take part in developing a local economy that is respectful of the environment and local resources.

Fernand Miron & Anita Royer
Fondation Miron-Royer Inc.


Choice edible
Very good edible
Good edible
Unknown edibility or toxicity
Very bitter