|Major Groups > Gilled Mushrooms > Pale-Spored > Waxy Caps > Hygrocybe pratensis|
by Michael Kuo
This waxy cap is less "waxy-cap-ish" than many others, and identification is more likely to get hung up on the genus than the species. Once you have placed it in the waxy cap family, it is fairly distinctive: crucial identifying features include the dry, orangish buff cap that has tiny, pressed-down fibers (use a hand lens), and the cream to orangish, fairly distant gills that begin to run down the stem.
Hygrocybe pratensis has been shifted between several genera in the waxy cap family over the years. Most recently, David Boertmann (2000) placed it in Hygrocybe--but DNA evidence from Moncalvo and others (2002) suggests it may belong at the fringe, or even outside, of a large group of mushrooms containing Omphalina, Arrhenia, and the Hygrophoraceae (see the Hygrophoroid/Omphalinoid Group for more information).
Ecology: Saprobic; frequently found in open areas and grassy places, or in woods under hardwoods or conifers; growing scattered to gregariously or, occasionally, in small clusters; late spring through fall (or winter in warmer climates); widely distributed in North America.
Cap: 2-7 cm; slightly irregular to convex when young, becoming convex to flat, or with an uplifted margin; dry; with minute, pressed-down fibers ("appressed fibrillose"; use a hand lens), at least when young; orange to cinnamon orange when young and fresh, but soon fading to orangish buff; often somewhat cracked over the disc by maturity; the margin not lined.
Gills: Running slightly down the stem; distant or nearly so; thick and waxy; creamy orangish; often with cross-veins by maturity.
Stem: 3-8 cm long; .5-2 cm thick; equal; smooth; dry; white, or tinged with the cap color; stuffed.
Flesh: White; brittle.
Odor and Taste: Not distinctive.
Spore Print: White.
Microscopic Features: Spores 5.5-8 x 3.5-5 µ; smooth; elliptical or nearly round. Gill tissue interwoven. Pileipellis a cutis.
REFERENCES: (Persoon, 1801) Bon, 1976. (Hesler & Smith, 1963; Bird & Grund, 1979; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Largent, 1985; Arora, 1986; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Barron, 1999; Roody, 2003; McNeil, 2006.) Herb. Kuo 06120302, 06150309, 01150514.
Camarophyllus pratensis, Cuphophyllus pratensis, and Hygrophorus pratensis are synonyms.
Hygrocybe pratensis var. pallida is a whitish variety of Hygrocybe pratensis.
Further Online Information:
Cite this page as:
Kuo, M. (2007, January). Hygrocybe pratensis. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/hygrocybe_pratensis.html