What You Should Know
Gliophorus laetus is a species of agaric fungus in the family Hygrophoraceae. It is distinctive by variably colored sporocarps and decurrent gills. This little orange-brown waxcap is a fairly frequent find on cropped grassland, particularly among mosses on moorland.
Habitat solitary to scattered to gregarious in duff of conifer forests, especially redwood. Common in northwestern coastal forests. Rare south.
Originally described as new to science by Christian Hendrik Persoon in 1800, it was transferred to the genus Gliophorus in 1958. It is considered edible, but of little interest.
Gliophorus laetus Mushroom Identification
Growing scattered to gregariously in woods (especially in boggy, wet areas) or, in Europe, in grasslands and heaths; summer and fall, or overwinter in warmer climates. Originally described from France; common in Europe; widely distributed in North America; also known from Central America.
1.5–3.5 cm across; convex at first, expanding to broadly convex or nearly flat, with a shallow central depression; bald; slimy; medium brownish orange over the center, but paler pinkish-orange elsewhere; the margin becoming translucently lined with age.
Running down the stem, or beginning to do so; distant; edges with a thin gelatinous band; creamy; short-gills present.
3–4 cm long; 2–3 mm thick; equal; bald; slimy; pale orange; hollow.
Odor and Taste
Odd and fishy or soaplike - or not distinctive.
KOH pink on cap surface.
Spores 6–9 x 3.5–4.5 µm; ellipsoid to sublacrymoid; smooth; hyaline in KOH; inamyloid. Basidia 35–40 x 3–5 µm; cylindric to subclavate; 4-sterigmate. Pleurocystidia not found. Ixocheilocystidia forming a sterile band; 30–50 x 1–2 µm; filamentous; apices rounded or subacute; smooth; hyaline in KOH; partially gelatinizing. Pileipellis an ixocutis; elements 2.5–5 µm wide, smooth, hyaline in KOH.
Gliophorus laetus Look-Alikes
Іometimes similar in color to the Heath Waxcap, but it is a much bigger and more robust waxcap without deep marginal striations.
Сan have similarly colored caps, but not decurrent gills.
Gliophorus laetus Taxonomy and Etymology
When in 1800 Christiaan Hendrik Persoon described this waxcap he gave it the name Agaricus laetus. It was the German mycologist Paul Kummer who, in 1871, transferred this species to the genus Hygrocybe, thereby creating its currently accepted scientific name Gliophorus laetus.
There are two varieties of this species in Britain. During the past two centuries or so the nominate form of the Heath Waxcap, Gliophorus laetus var. laeta, has acquired a few synonymous scientific names including Agaricus laetus Pers., Hygrophorus laetus (Pers.) Fr., Gliophorus laetus (Pers.) P. Kumm., and Hygrophorus houghtonii Berk. & Broome.
The other variety of Heath Waxcap is Gliophorus laetus var. flava and was described for the first time in 1995 by Danish waxcap expert David Boertmann. In Britain and Ireland this is a very rare find; it is distinguished by a yellowish cap and yellow rather than grey gills; this variety is more common in the far north of mainland Europe.
The genus Gliophorus comes from the from Greek glia-, meaning glue, and the Latin -phorus from the Greek -phoros which means bearing: Gliophorus refers to the glue-like thick liquid that coats the caps, gills and stems of mushrooms in this genus.
The specific epithet laetus means joyful or happy.
Photo 1 - Author: Jimmie Veitch (jimmiev) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 2 - Author: Nicolò Oppicelli (Nicolò Oppicelli) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 3 - Author: thinker (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 4 - Author: natureluvr01 (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)
Photo 5 - Author: Thomas Pruß (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)