What You Should Know
A small red Waxcap that is fairly easy to identify as it has a scurfy cap, unlike most other Waxcaps which have smooth, greasy caps, which fades in age to orange or yellow-orange. Being fairly rare and small this beautiful mushroom, although edible.
Waxcaps don’t like to be disturbed or sprayed so will be found where fields and woodland have been left alone. Like most members of the waxy-cap clan, it tends to be a late fruiter, usually not showing up before mid-December.
Other names: Vermillion Waxcap.
Hygrocybe miniata Mushroom Identification
Precise ecological role uncertain (see Lodge and collaborators, 2013); appearing in woods under hardwoods, especially oaks; usually growing gregariously; early summer through fall; widely reported in North America.
5-22 mm across; convex, becoming broadly convex or nearly flat; often developing a broad central depression; dry or slightly moist in humid or wet weather; innately, finely, radially scurfy or fibrillose, especially with age; scarlet to reddish orange when young and fresh, fading to orange or yellow; the margin sometimes becoming thinly lined and/or scalloped.
Broadly attached to the stem or beginning to run down it; nearly distant; thick; pale yellow at first, becoming yellow to orange; short-gills frequent.
20-40 mm long; 2-5 mm thick; equal, or tapering to base; dry; bald; yellow near the apex; elsewhere colored more or less like the cap but fading more slowly; base white.
Orange to pale yellow; thin.
Spore Print: White.
Hygrocybe miniata Similar Species
Hygrocybe cantharellus has decurrent gills.
Hygrocybe coccinea has a larger orange-red cap.
Hygrocybe conica turns black with age or when cut.
Hygrocybe miniata Taxonomy and Etymology
When pioneering Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries was writing Systema Mycologicum (published in 1821), he described this waxcap scientifically and gave it the name Agaricus miniatus.
Despite literature searches by other mycologists over the past two centuries, the basionym remains unchallenged. It was German mycologist Paul Kummer who, in 1871, transferred this species to the genus Hygrocybe, establishing its current scientific name Hygrocybe miniata.
Hygrocybe miniata has acquired several synonyms including Agaricus miniatus Fr., Hygrophorus miniatus (Fr.) Fr., Hygrocybe miniata var. miniata (Fr.) P. Kumm., Hygrophorus strangulatus P. D. Orton, and Hygrocybe strangulata (P. D. Orton) Svrcek.
The genus Hygrocybe is so named because fungi in this group are always very moist. Hygrocybe means 'watery head'.
Photo 1 - Author: walt sturgeon (Mycowalt) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 2 - Author: mycowalt (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
Photo 3 - Author: Christopher Stephens (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
Photo 4 - Author: Henk Monster (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)
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