What You Should Know
Defining features for this beautiful waxy cap include its not-quite-conic, not-quite-convex, sticky, orange cap; its stem, which becomes fibrillose as it ages; and its frequently constricted spores, which do not usually exceed 10 µ in length. It is almost only known from Europe, with very few localities in western Asia. In Europe H. aurantiosplendens is widespread, but rare to very rare everywhere (Boertmann, 2010) and decreasing, reflected by its classification in many national and regional Red Lists.
A waxcap by the same name is also recorded in parts of North America, but it is uncertain whether the American and European forms are truly specific.
Other names: Orange Waxcap, Gyllen Vokssopp (Norway), Orangegylden Vokshat (Denmark), Glänzender Orange-Saftling (Germany), Prachtwasplaat (Netherlands), Voskovka Skvostná (Czech Republic), Lúčnica Oranžová (Slovakia), Fager Vaxskivling (Sweden), Lounavahakas (Finland), Wilgotnica Ozdobna (Poland), Orangeglänzender Saftling (Austria).
Hygrocybe aurantiosplendens Mushroom Identification
Precise ecological role uncertain; growing scattered or gregariously under hardwoods; summer; North American distribution uncertain.
3.5-5 cm; broadly conical at first, expanding to plano-umbonate; slimy to sticky; bald; dark bright orange; the margin translucently lined.
Narrowly attached to the stem; close or nearly distant; yellow.
6-9 cm long; 0.5-1 cm thick; more or less equal, or slightly tapering to apex; a little tacky when handled; bald at first, becoming fibrillose with age; yellowish-orange; white at the base.
Yellowish or orangish; thin; not blackening.
Odor and Taste
Spores 8-10 x 6-7 µ; smooth; ellipsoid, but frequently constricted; smooth; hyaline in KOH; inamyloid. Basidia 4-spored; to about 60 µ long. Hymenial cystidia absent. Lamellar trama parallel or nearly so. Pileipellis an ixocutis.
Hygrocybe aurantiosplendens Look-Alikes
Yellow and has a viscid stem.
Occasionally occurs in an orange-yellow form. When crushed its gills smell like honey.
Could be confused with Hygrocybe aurantiosplendens but they are distinguished by somewhat larger spores and more coarsely fibrous stems.
Hygrocybe aurantiosplendens Taxonomy and Etymology
The Orange Waxcap was first described in 1954 by Swedish mycologist R. Haller Aar., who gave it what is still its generally accepted scientific name Hygrocybe aurantiosplendens.
Synonyms of Hygrocybe aurantiosplendens include Hygrophorus aurantiosplendens (R. Haller Aar.) P.D. Orton.
The genus Hygrocybe is so named because fungi in this group are nearly always very moist. Hygrocybe means 'watery head'.
The specific epithet aurantiosplendens refers to the vibrancy yellow-orange color of the cap and stem of this lovely waxcap.
Photo 1 - Author: Irene Andersson (irenea) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 2 - Author: gailhampshire from Cradley, Malvern, U.K (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)
Photo 3 - Author: Jerzy Opioła (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)