Edible mushrooms are the fleshy and edible fruit bodies of several species of macrofungi (fungi which bear fruiting structures that are large enough to be seen with the naked eye). They can appear either below ground (hypogeous) or above ground (epigeous) where they may be picked by hand. Edibility may be defined by criteria that include absence of poisonous effects on humans and desirable taste and aroma. Edible mushrooms are consumed for their nutritional value and they are occasionally consumed for their supposed medicinal value. Mushrooms consumed by those practicing folk medicine are known as medicinal mushrooms. While psychedelic mushrooms are occasionally consumed for recreational or entheogenic purposes, they can produce strong psychological effects, and are therefore not commonly used as food. Edible mushrooms include many fungal species that are either harvested wild or cultivated. Easily cultivatable and common wild mushrooms are often available in markets, and those that are more difficult to obtain (such as the prized truffle, matsutake and morel) may be collected on a smaller scale by private gatherers. Some preparations may render certain poisonous mushrooms fit for consumption. Before assuming that any wild mushroom is edible, it should be identified.
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