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What are Waxcaps : :


To identify a waxcap use our Waxcap Key.
If there are any unfamiliar terms please use the Waxcap Glossary.

What are Waxcaps?

The most distinctive and visible components of the grassland fungi. These are the brightly coloured and sometimes shiny mushrooms of the genus Hygrocybe, commonly seen in the Autumn.

The most distinctive and visible component of the grassland mycota are the waxcap fungi, belonging to the genus Hygrocybe. Members of this genus typically possess brightly coloured pilei which are often conferred a 'shiny' appearance by the presence of a glutinous surface layer.

Some 60 species of Hygrocybe occur in Europe most commonly in Western and Northern regions (Boertmann, 1995). In Europe there is a strong association between Hygrocybe spp. and grassland habitats, though some species notably H. viola and H. quieta frequently occur in woodlands.

The association of the European waxcaps with grassland habitats contrasts with the situation in the North America where Hygrocybe spp. are typically considered as woodland species. The reason for this difference in habitat is unclear, though it may be related to similarities in summer soil temperature between the grasslands in the Atlantic regions of Europe and the woodlands of North America.

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