What You Should Know
Cuphophyllus virgineus is a species of mushroom in the family Hygrophoraceae. It can be distinguished by a moist to dry white cap that may become yellowish-white in age, decurrent white gills, a slender white stipe. The species has a large north temperate distribution, occurring in grassland in Europe and woodland in North America and northern Asia, but is also known from Australia. Habitat scattered to gregarious in the soil in mixed hardwood-conifer forests; fruiting from late fall to winter in north-central to northern coastal forests.
Other names: Snowy Waxcap.
Cuphophyllus virgineus Mushroom Identification
Growing scattered or gregariously under hardwoods or conifers; summer and fall (or overwinter in warmer climates); probably widely distributed in North America.
1.5-5 cm; convex when young, becoming broadly convex to more or less flat - or developing a shallow central depression and an uplifted margin; moist to greasy when fresh, but soon dry; bald; white to ivory - but often developing brownish to yellowish areas over the center; the margin sometimes faintly lined.
Beginning to run down the stem; distant or nearly so; whitish, becoming pale yellowish with age; short-gills frequent.
2-12 cm long; up to 1 cm thick; often tapering to base; dry; mealy at the apex, but bald or very finely hairy below; whitish; becoming hollow.
Odor and Taste
Odor not distinctive; taste not distinctive, or a little bitter.
Spores 7-10 x 4-5 µ; ellipsoid, with a prominent apiculus; smooth; hyaline in KOH; inamyloid. Basidia 4-sterigmate; to 55 µ long. Hymenial cystidia absent. Lamellar trama interwoven. Pileipellis a cutis.
Cuphophyllus virgineus Look-Alikes
Has a strong cedar-like odor.
Which both grow in rings in grassland. However, these both have more crowded gills.
Cuphophyllus borealis (formerly Hygrocybe borealis)
Very similar but features a somewhat sticky cap and, under the microscope, a corresponding ixocutis.
Very similar but its gills are more closely spaced and it is much slimier.
Cuphophyllus virgineus Taxonomy and Etymology
The basionym dates from 1781, when Austrian mycologist Franz Xavier von Wulfen (1728 - 1805) described the Snowy Waxcap and gave it the scientific name Agaricus virgineus.
The currently accepted scientific name Cuphophyllus virgineus dates fom a 1989 publication by Russian mycologist Alexander Kovalenko.
The genus Cuphophyllus was described in 1985 by French mycologist Marcel Bon. The prefix Cupho- means curved, while the suffix -phyllus refers to the leaves (gills) of mushrooms in this genus.
The specific epithet virginea or virgineus has lesser claims to the virginal characteristic.
Cuphophyllus virgineus Synonyms
Agaricus niveus Scop. (1772)
Agaricus virgineus Wulfen (1781)
Hygrophorus niveus (Scop.) Fr.) (1838)
Hygrophorus virgineus (Wulfen) Fr.) (1838)
Camarophyllus virgineus (Wulfen) P.Kumm. (1871)
Camarophyllus virginea (Giovanni Antonio Scopoli
Hygrocybe nivea (Scop.) Murrill (1916)
Hygrocybe virginea (Wulfen) P.D.Orton & Watling (1969)
Cuphophyllus niveus (Scop.) Bon (1984)
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