Red waxcaps, mushrooms

Crimson waxcap

The Crimson Waxcap (Hygrocybe punicea) can be found in pasture growing in small groups or rings. Waxcaps include some of our most colourful species. To some people, they have even earned the title of 'orchids of the fungal kingdom'. The New Forest has large areas of unimproved grassland that has not been spread with any artificial fertiliser, and the sward is also closely grazed by the ponies and cattle, thus providing the ideal habit for these pretty waxcaps.

They are small mushrooms (6 or 7cms high) growing in groups or solitary, with often several different species growing on the same patch of grassland. They come in a variety of colours - all shades of red, pink, orange, yellow, black, white, purple, shades of brown and even shades of green. However they are all different species of the same genus. The cap may be dry, greasy or viscid and some of them have a definite smell such as honey, leather, garlic or even burnt rubber, which all aids in identification.   

All the fruiting bodies can be seen on the grasslands in the New Forest from late summer through to the autumn, and certainly before any night frosts bring an end to their appearance. 

The Scarlet Waxcap is probably the largest of the species and is fleshy with a greasy cap, the margin of which can be yellowish, and with a thick fibrillose (covered with tiny hairs) stem.

The brilliant red colour though, as with all Waxcaps, begins to fade to a red/ orange after a few days.

  1. Fungi
  2. Pestle puffball
  3. Crimson waxcap (you are here)
  4. Nail fungus
  5. Golden spindles
  6. Shaggy inkcap
  7. Stinkhorn
  8. False deathcap
  9. Fly agaric
  10. Chicken of the woods
  11. Wood blewit
  12. Bearded tooth
  13. Southern bracket
  14. Honey fungus
  15. Panthercap
  16. Dyers mazegill
  17. Devil’s fingers
  18. Deathcap
  19. Brown birch bolete
  20. Ochre brittlegill


image-fade-right image-fade-left