Wild mushrooms have been a food source for centuries. Collecting them requires extensive knowledge and skill to know which are safe. Thousands of varieties of mushrooms exist, but only a small percentage of those are edible.
Because of the huge numbers of mushroom species, it is vital to know which are edible. The Soma County Mycological Association lists 171 known edible mushrooms in northern California.
In northern California, mushroom hunting is restricted on much of the pubic land, but some parks will allow collecting if it is for personal use and not for resale. It is important to know which mushroom is which, so anything collected must not be eaten until it is 100 percent verified to be edible.
Even with the greatest of care, mistakes can still be made. If there is the slightest chance that anyone, or a even the family dog ate a poisonous mushroom, help must be sought. The Soma County Mycological Association provides a free helpline to assist in mushroom identification. If a mushroom that is poisonous is eaten, seek emergency medical help and California's Poison Control System.