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Hygrocybe subminiata

[ Basidiomycota > Agaricales > Hygrophoraceae > Hygrocybe . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Don't let the photo fool you; the illustrated mushroom is about 1 cm across. It was the largest in a troop of gorgeous little waxy caps growing in my yard. Tiny red waxies are notoriously difficult, so I didn't hold out much hope for a successful identification--but, happily, it turns out that Hygrocybe subminiata is fairly distinctive. Crucial features include its very tiny size, its sticky scarlet cap, its dry yellowish stem, and microscopic features (including 2-spored basidia and spores 7-9 µ long). Potential tiny red look-alikes include Hygrocybe mississippiensis, which features a dry and scurfy cap, as well as slightly smaller spores and 4-spored basidia; and Hygrocybe subminitula, which features a sticky stem, a more convex cap that does not develop a wavy margin, smaller spores, and 4-spored basidia.

Hygrophorus subminiatus is a synonym.


Ecology: Precise ecological role uncertain (see Lodge and collaborators, 2013); growing gregariously in hardwood and conifer forests; summer through winter; possibly widely distributed in North America (reported from the southeastern United States, Michigan, and the Pacific Northwest). The illustrated and described collection was made in Illinois.

Cap: Up to 10 mm across; broadly convex, becoming planoconvex with a shallow central depression; sticky; bald; bright red; the margin somewhat wavy at maturity.

Gills: Broadly attached to the stem or beginning to run down it; distant or nearly so; orangish or yellowish.

Stem: Up to 3 cm long and 2 mm thick; more or less equal; dry or a little moist, but not sticky; bald; pale orange to yellow.

Flesh: Insubstantial.

Odor and Taste: Not distinctive.

Spore Print: White.

Microscopic Features: Spores 7-9 x 4-5 µ; ellipsoid or nearly cylindrical; smooth; hyaline in KOH; inamyloid. Basidia 2-sterigmate; 40-55 µ long. Hymenial cystidia absent. Lamellar trama parallel. Pileipellis an ixocutis.

REFERENCES: Murrill, 1911. (Hesler and Smith, 1963; Stuntz, 1975.) Herb. Kuo 07160405.

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Hygrocybe subminiata

Hygrocybe subminiata

Hygrocybe subminiata

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Kuo, M. (2014, July). Hygrocybe subminiata. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: