What You Should Know
A less common waxcap mushroom, Hygrocybe fornicata can be identified by its taupe color and almost always a hump cap, usually with a darker central area.
Waxcaps are often difficult to separate based on macroscopic features, so it helps a lot if a species shares one or more features with few or no other waxcaps. There are very few varieties of gray or tan waxcaps, making earth-colored waxcaps very unique.
Hygrocybe fornicata is a relatively rare find, but common in most of the continental European countries and the UK.
Other names: Earthy Waxcap.
Hygrocybe fornicata Mushroom Identification
Gray at the margin but a darker brownish gray near the center, the cap surface is initially slightly sticky but becomes fairly dry (except in wet weather) at maturity. Broadly campanulate or conical when young, then flattening but retaining a small umbo, caps range from 2 to 8cm across, sometimes splitting radially; radially finely fibrillose and sometimes slightly scaly at the center.
Adnexed, adnate or emarginate, the thin gills are white or very pale grey and moderately spaced.
White or very pale gray, often with rusty spots near the base, the dry stems are smooth or very finely fibrillose, mainly at the base, and of more or less constant diameter (typically 6 to 12mm in diameter) and 2 to 7cm long with no stem ring.
Ellipsoidal, smooth; with some drops; 6-9 x 4-6μm; hyaline; inamyloid.
Odor and Taste
Mainly in unimproved grasslands such as old lawns and churchyards but occasionally in deciduous woodland clearings; sometimes found on heathland. It is considered to be saprobic on the dead roots of grasses and other grassland plants, but it is now considered likely that there is some kind of mutual relationship between waxcaps and mosses.
September to November.
Gliophorus irrigatus is brownish but much slimmer. Also, this hygrophore could be confused with some species of the genera Tricholoma or Dermoloma.
Hygrocybe fornicata Taxonomy and Etymology
Hygrocybe fornicata is a waxcap whose basionym dates from 1838 when, in his Systema Mycologicum, Elias Magnus Fries described this species and gave it the scientific name Hygrophorus fornicatus. The currently accepted scientific name Hygrocybe fornicata dates from a 1949 paper (publication date 1951) by Rolf Singer. As other varieties have been described the autonomous variety is formally named Hygrocybe fornicata var. fornicata (Fr.) Singer.
The genus Hygrocybe is so named because fungi in this group are always very moist. Hygrocybe means 'watery head'. The specific epithet fornicata means arched and refers to the umbonate shape of the cap.
Hygrocybe fornicata Synonyms
Hygrophorus fornicatus Fr., 1838
Camarophyllus fornicatus (Fr.) P. Karst., 1879
Neohygrocybe fornicata (Fr.) Herink, 1958
Porpoloma fornicata (Fr.) Bresinsky, 2003
Porpolomopsis fornicata (Fr.) Bresinsky, 2008
Cuphophyllus fornicatus (Fries) D.J. Lodge, M. Padamsee & A. Vizzini, 2013
Hygrophorus fornicatus var. clivalis Fr., 1857
Photo 1 - Author: Len Worthington (lennyworthington) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
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