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Field characters

Pileus: usually brightly colored ( red, yellow, orange, violet, green), viscid or dry
Annulus: absent
Stipe: central, striate to smooth
Ecology: probably saprobic, on the ground in woods and fields

Micro characters

Basidiospores: smooth, inamyloid without a germ pore
Hyphae: with or without clamp connections
Cystidia: usually absent
Spore Print: white to cream
Lamellae: light or dull colored species - variously attached but never decurrent; more brightly colored species variously attached to decurrent, according to Singer, 1986
Lamellar Trama: regular (parallel) to subregular
Pileipellis: various ( rectocutis, trichoderm or tomentum, or the slimy (ixo-) variation of any of these.


This is one of the genera separated from the Friesian genus Hygrophorus (along with Camarophyllus).

The common name of waxy caps describes this group well. The cap, and especially the gills have a distinctive waxy fell when rubbed between the fingers. The only other waxy, white spored genus is Laccaria, but it has spiny spores (usually) and a tough cartilaginous stipe.

The only absolute way to separate Hygrocybe, Hygrophorus and Camarophyllus is by examining the lamellar trama. It is regular in Hygrocybe, divergent on Hygrophorus and interwoven in Camarophyllus.