Waxcap fungi thrive on damp, ‘unimproved’ grassland, or rather grassland which hasn’t be ruined by artificial fertiliser or herbicides. A trip to Emsworthy Mire on Dartmoor becomes a thrill when I spot some.
Aren’t their colours intense?
They might be Crimson Waxcaps, Hygrocybe punicea:
There are orange coloured Meadow Waxcaps here, Hygrocybe pratensis:
I’ve seen them before too:
A day out at Challacombe Farm shows another wonderful collection of Waxcaps. The surprise of the intensity of their colour against grass is always a joy:
This more delicate white Waxcap is an interesting find. Unfortunately I forgot to sniff this one. The Cedarwood Waxcap, Hygrocybe russocoriacea, smells of lead pencils. The Snowy Waxcap, Hygrocybe virginea, doesn’t.
The gills of Waxcaps are quite distinctive. I particularly like this artistic red to yellow fade.
There are Blackening Waxcaps, Hygrocybe conica, on the drive home. I’ve seen them before. They are known as Witches’ Hats:
They look characterful in this sunshine:
There are more white Waxcaps here.
I forget to smell them, too.
Back at Emsworthy Mire a few days later and there is a hugely overgrown Meadow Waxcap with veins on the gills which make them look like orange segments:
And there are intense yellow to red coloured Waxcaps splitting in the short grass.
If someone would like to buy me David Boertmann’s book: ‘The genus Hygrocybe, 2nd revised edition’ (2010) for Christmas, that would be very kind. Then I might actually be able to identify them correctly!