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Field characters

Pileus: smooth, often viscid
Annulus: absent, but annular zone on stipe may be present
Stipe: central
Stature: Tricholomatoid, Clitocyboid
Ecology: ectomycorrhizal, on ground

Micro characters

Basidiospores: smooth, hyaline, inamyloid on relatively long basidia
Hyphae: with clamp connections
Cystidia: very rare
Spore Print: white to cream
Lamellae: adnate-decurrent to decurrent, thick, well spaced and waxy
Lamellar Trama: divergent (with distinct mediostratum) (Methven, 2004)
Pileipellis: : rectocutis or ixorectoicutis, tomentum or ixotomentum


This is a Friesian genus that has been divided into several genera, three of which seem to be known from this country: Hygrophorus, Hygrocybe and Camarophyllus. The separation is based on the lamellar trama prmarly; Hygrophorus being divergent.

Generally, Hygrophorus is larger and less colorful than the separated genus Hygrocybe, which is also common around here. Roody, 2003 included Camarophyllus in Hygrocybe .

Another descriptive character of the Hygrophoraceae is, according to Singer 1986, the extraordinarily long basidia (in relation to the basidiospores). I have never been able to appreciate this distinction. He does state that Hygrocybe is not always ectomycorrhizal.

The common name – waxy caps – describes this group well. They could be confused with Clitocybe, I guess, or even Russula or Lactarius at times, but if one rubs a gill between one’s fingers, you can feel the waxy nature.

They appear in late summer and are most abundant in Fall, as with most ectomycorrhizal ‘shrooms.