What You Should Know
Hygrophorus nemoreus is an edible species of fungus in the genus Hygrophorus. It is easily mistaken for the Meadow Waxcap Cuphophyllus pratensis, and caution is necessary: the growing habitat is not sufficient to confirm identification because Meadow Waxcaps do occur occasionally in woodlands. It is found from Finland down to the Mediterranean countries and the Iberian Peninsula, but it is uncommon to rare in most countries (and red-listed in Norway and Sweden).
Other names: Oak Woodwax.
Hygrophorus nemoreus Mushroom Identification
Reddish ochre to apricot-colored, often slightly darker in the center, covered with fine dense radial fibrils; convex, becoming flat or slightly depressed with a broad umbo; dry; 4 to 7cm (exceptionally to 10cm) across; margin of young specimens markedly involute.
A cutis, in places a trichoderm, comprising short elements of hyphae 2 - 7μm in diameter, constricted at septa. Some terminal elements, typically 25 - 75 x 4-8μm, emerge erect at the surface; clamps are present.
Cream, developing a pinkish ochre tinge with age; thick; fairly distant; decurrent.
Whitish at the base, the apex either whitish or concolorous with the gills; finely pruinose, especially towards apex; often curved; cylindrical, tapering sharply towards base; 5 to 9cm long, 0.8 to 1.5cm diameter; covered in fine longitudinal fibrils. The stem flesh is whitish.
The subcylindrical or slightly clavate basidia are typically 40 x 7μm and mainly four spored with occasionally a few being monosporic. Basal clamps are present.
Broadly ellipsoidal to lacrimose, 6-8 x 4-5μm. Q = 1.4 - 1.8.
Odor and Taste
The faint mealy (floury) taste and smell of this wood wax is a helpful distinguishing feature.
In broadleaf woodland, more often on alkaline soils; favoring oaks (Quercus spp.) but also found with Beech (Fagus), Hornbeam (Carpinus), Hazel (Corylus) and birches (Betula).
Autumn and early winter.
Hygrophorus nemoreus Taxonomy and Etymology
The basionym of this species was established when it was described scientifically and named Agaricus nemoreus by Christiaan Hendrik Persoon in 1801. It was the great Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries who, in 1838, renamed this wood wax mushroom Hygrophorus nemoreus, which is the scientific name by which mycologists refer to it today.
Hygrophorus, the genus name, comes from hygro- meaning moisture, and -phorus meaning bearer. Not only do these fungi contain a lot of water but they are also moist and sticky to touch.
The specific epithet nemoreus means 'of the wood' or 'of the glade' - a reference to the habitat of these wood wax fungi.
Hygrophorus nemoreus Synonyms
Agaricus nemoreus Pers.
Camarophyllus nemoreus (Fr.) P. Kumm., 1871
Hygrophorus pratensis var. nemoreus (Fr.) Quél., 1883
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