What You Should Know
Hygrocybe ceracea is distinguished by the small, yellow to golden orange fruit bodies, caps that are viscid at first, gills that are adnate to slightly decurrent, and dry stipe colored like the cap or paler. It is widespread in Europe, but not well known in North America.
Other names: Butter Waxcap, Golden Yellow Waxgill.
Hygrocybe ceracea Mushroom Identification
0.5 to 3.5cm in diameter, the cap is hemispherical at first, becoming convex and eventually almost flat, sometimes with a slightly depressed center. Initially, the cap color is bright yellow or orange-yellow, darker towards the center and the margin is translucently striate. As the fruit body matures its cap margin fades slowly to white. Although they tend to be waxy and sticky in wet weather, the caps are not slimy.
A hand lens reveals that the surface of the cap is covered in tiny nodules; this surface texture may be less evident or absent when the caps are fully expanded.
Adnate or slightly decurrent, thin, fairly crowded (for a waxcap, that is), the gills are usually a paler yellow than the cap and sometimes almost white.
Yellow on the surface and within the stem flesh; sometimes tinged orange near to the base. Dry, smooth, and silky or matt. Level, sometimes laterally compressed, usually hollow, with no stem ring; 2 to 4mm in diameter and 2 to 5cm tall.
Mainly four-spored, claviform, 35-54 x 5-7μm; sterigmata 5-7μm long.
Oblong to cylindrical, often constricted; smooth, 6.5-8 x 3-4 μm; inamyloid.
Odor and Taste
Habitat & Ecological Role
In unimproved acid and neutral grassland, including upland meadows, parkland, old lawns, and churchyards; occasionally on stable dunes and (more rarely) on woodland edges.
Hygrocybe ceracea Look-Alikes
Has grayish decurrent gills.
Larger and has a more slimy cap in wet weather.
Occasionally occurs in an all-yellow form; it is larger and its crushed gills smell like honey.
Hygrocybe ceracea Taxonomy and Etymology
In 1781 Austrian mycologist Franz Xavier von Wulfen (1728 - 1805) described this species and named it Agaricus ceraceus.
The genus Hygrocybe is so named because fungi in this group are always very moist. Hygrocybe means 'watery head'.
The specific epithet ceracea comes from the Latin cera, meaning wax, and refers to the waxy surface of the cap of this neat little mushroom.
Hygrocybe ceracea Synonyms
Agaricus ceraceus Wulfen
Gymnopus ceraceus (Wulfen) Gray
Hygrophorus ceraceus (Wulfen) Fr.
Hygrocybe vitellinoides Bon
Hygrocybe ceracea var. vitellinoides (Bon) Bon.
Hygrophorus vitellinus Fr., 1863
Gliophorus vitellinus (Fr.) Kovalenko, 1988
Gloioxanthomyces vitellinus (Fries) Lodge, 2013
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