What You Should Know
Porpolomopsis calyptriformis is a species of agaric (gilled mushroom) in the family Hygrophoraceae. This is a rare and beautiful mushroom and is easy to identify with its sharply conical top and pink coloring. As it matures, the cap usually splits and sometimes turns upwards. The cap flesh is white but tinged pink just below the cuticle. The closely-spaced adnate gills are rose-pink when young, becoming paler with age. This is the only truly pink British waxcap.
The species has a north temperate distribution, occurring in grassland in Europe and woodland in North America and northern Asia. It typically produces basidiocarps (fruit bodies) in the autumn. In many European countries, P. calyptriformis is of conservation concern, appearing on national red lists of threatened fungi.
Some authorities list the Pink Waxcap as edible, but as these wild grassland fungi are still so scarce it would be quite unforgivable to gather them for eating.
Other names: Pink Waxcap, Ballerina Waxcap.
Porpolomopsis calyptriformis Mushroom Identification
The domed cap, 2.5 to 6cm in diameter, is pale pink or lilac and at first narrowly conical; the surface is dry and silky except during or immediately after rain when it is only slightly sticky (lubricious). As it matures, the cap usually splits. The cap flesh is white but tinged pink just below the cuticle.
Rose pink when young, the closely-spaced adnate gills become paler with age.
White, sometimes flushed lightly with the same pink color as the cap, especially near the apex; tending to split very easily. Level, smooth, dry; no stem ring; white stem flesh.
Mainly four spored, 30 - 57 x 7 - 9μm.
Broadly ellipsoidal to ellipsoid-oblong, smooth; 6-9 x 4-7μm; inamyloid.
Regular, with hyphal elements up to 1mm long and typically 10 to 25μm in diameter.
A cutis comprising hyphal elements typically 30 - 90μm long x 10-20μm in diameter.
Odor and Taste
Habitat & Ecological Role
Closely cropped or mown grassland where artificial fertilisers are not spread.
Waxcaps have long been 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.
Porpolomopsis calyptriformis Taxonomy and Etymology
When in 1838 Miles Joseph Berkeley described this species he named it Agaricus calyptraeformis.
It was the Swiss mycologist Victor Fayod (1860 - 1900) who in 1889 transferred the Pink Waxcap to its present genus, renaming it Hygrocybe calyptriformis, the name by which it was known until 2008, when Andreas Brezinsky transferred it to the genus Porpolomopsis.
Synonyms of Porpolomopsis calyptriformis include Agaricus calyptraeformis Berk., Hygrophorus calyptriformis (Berk.) Berk. & Broome, Hygrocybe calyptriformis (Berk.) Fayod, and Humidicutis calyptriformis (Berk.) Vizzini & Ercole.
The genus Hygrocybe is so named because fungi in this group are always very moist. Hygrocybe means 'watery head'. The new genus name Porpolomopsis means 'looking like a Porpoloma', the latter being a mushroom genus described by Rolf Singer in 1952.
The specific epithet calyptriformis (note that the spelling has changed from calyptraeformis used by Berkeley) means in the shape of a thin hood (or cap).
Porpolomopsis calyptriformis Conservation
In Europe, Porpolomopsis calyptriformis is typical of waxcap grasslands, a declining habitat due to changing agricultural practices. As a result, the species is of regional conservation concern and is one of 33 larger fungi proposed for international protection under the Bern Convention. Porpolomopsis calyptriformis also appears on the official or provisional national red lists of threatened fungi in several European countries, including Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany (Bavaria), Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, and Switzerland. In 2008, the Pink Waxcap was featured on a postage stamp issued by the Republic of Ireland.
In the United Kingdom, Porpolomopsis calyptriformis was originally placed on the provisional red list of fungi (Ing, 1992) and made the subject of a Biodiversity Action Plan. Increased publicity and interest in waxcap grasslands, however, produced a commensurate increase in records of the species. By 2006, it had been recorded from over 360 hectads. As a result, the pink waxcap was deemed to be not uncommon in the United Kingdom and was consequently removed from the current (2006) red list and the current list of BAP species.
Photo 1 - Author: gailhampshire (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)
Photo 2 - Author: Len Worthington (lennyworthington) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 3 - Author: Len Worthington (lennyworthington) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 4 - Author: gailhampshire (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)
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