Scarlet Waxcap Mushrooms

December 22, 2021


Photographer: David Wigglesworth

Summary Author: David Wigglesworth

I was so pleased to find these examples of the Scarlet Waxcap Mushroom (Hygrocybe coccinea).  My wife and I were on a walk in our favorite forest, and just off the main trail under some hardwood trees was this small display composed of several different stages of this bright little mushroom. The mushroom at the bottom of the photo is displaying the bell-shaped, uniformly red/scarlet cap or pileus. Conversely, the mushroom at middle-right is starting to flatten out and is losing some of its scarlet colour at the margins of the cap. Lastly, the mushroom at the top is in its mature form, displaying a broad, flat, glabrous cap. Estimated diameter of the top mushroom cap was approximately 1.75 to 2.2 in (4.5 to 5.5 cm).

The scarlet waxcap is widely distributed throughout North America (and indeed, the northern hemisphere, including Japan, China, and Europe), but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen them before. I couldn’t miss these ones, though.  The smallest was so bright red, it clearly stood out against the mossy ground.

Photo details: Google Pixel 5, ƒ/1.73, 1/300, 4.38 mm, ISO50

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