Boletes are a relatively safe group of mushrooms for human consumption, as none are known to be deadly to adults, and they are the most sought after fungi for mushroom hunting. They are especially suitable for novice mushroom hunters, since there is little danger of confusing them with deadly mushrooms, like various Amanita agarics, which are the most poisonous mushrooms in the world. They are easily distinguished from agarics, and easily recognized for colour, pores and thick stems and caps.
Even after recent changes in taxonomy that have moved many members out of the Boletaceae, it remains a large family with many genera. Currently, 28 genera are recognized in Boletaceae.
Afroboletus, Aureoboletus, Austroboletus, Boletellus, Boletochaete, Boletus, Buchwaldoboletus, Chalciporus, Chamonixia, Fistulinella, Gastroboletus, Gastroleccinum, Gastrotylopilus, Leccinum, Paxillogaster, Phylloboletellus, Phylloporus, Pulverboletus, Royoungia, Setogyroporus, Singeromyces, Sinoboletus, Strobilomyces, Tubosaeta, Tylopilus, Veloporphyrellus, Xanthoconium, Xerocomus
Many other genera formerly part of this family have been moved into other, smaller families as work with molecular phylogeny shows that they are more distantly related, even if physically similar. Representative of this adjustment is the move of the slimy-capped genus Suillus to Suillaceae.
Two of the best common edible boletes however are the Bay bolete (Boletus badius), whose pores bruise blue-green, and the orange birch bolete, which is a Leccinum with an orange cap and which bruises a bluish grey.
Several guidebooks recommend avoiding all red-pored boletes, however both B. erythropus and B. luridus are edible when well-cooked. However, there has been one recorded instance of death from Boletus pulcherrimus in 1994; a couple developed gastrointestinal symptoms after eating this fungus with the husband succumbing. Autopsy revealed infarction of the midgut. Boletus satanas has also long considered to be poisonous, though it has not been responsible for any deaths. The symptoms are predominantly gastrointestinal in nature. A glycoprotein, bolesatine, has been isolated. A similar compound bolevenine has been isolated from the poisonous Boletus venenatus of Japan.
Bolete-type mushrooms are avoided in eastern Africa.