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Hygrophorus speciosus

[ Basidiomycota > Agaricales > Hygrophoraceae > Hygrophorus . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

This beautiful and distinctive waxy cap is found under larch trees across the continent, and under ponderosa pine in western North America. When fresh it features a gorgeous, orangish red, sticky cap and a whitish stem that is sheathed in a thin layer of gluten. As the gluten dries out it often turns orangish, coloring the stem. The gills are white to faintly yellowish, and are broadly attached to the stem or begin to run down it. These features, along with its overall stature, should serve to separate Hygrophorus speciosus from other red waxy caps without recourse to microscopic examination.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with conifers, including larches and ponderosa pine; growing scattered, gregariously, or in loose troops; late summer and fall; apparently widely distributed in North America. The illustrated and described collections are from Colorado and Québec.

Cap: 2-5 cm; convex when young, becoming broadly convex or nearly flat; sticky when fresh, but sometimes drying out; bald; orangish red to brownish orange or reddish orange at first, fading to bright yellow; the margin at first inrolled.

Gills: Broadly attached to the stem or beginning to run down it; nearly distant; creamy or yellowish; short-gills frequent.

Stem: 3-6 cm long; 0.5-2 cm thick; more or less equal, or tapering to base; when fresh covered with gluten to just below the apex, where a sheath-like zone of gluten is often visible; white to whitish, developing orange shades from the base upwards as the gluten dries out.

Flesh: Whitish to yellowish; unchanging when sliced.

Odor and Taste: Not distinctive.

Chemical Reactions: KOH negative on cap surface.

Spore Print: White.

Microscopic Features: Spores 8-11 x 4.5-5.5 µ; ellipsoid; smooth; hyaline in KOH; inamyloid. Hymenial cystidia absent. Basidia 4-sterigmate; 45-65 µ long. Lamellar trama divergent. Pileipellis an ixotrichoderm.

REFERENCES: Peck, 1878. (Saccardo, 1887; Kauffman, 1918; Hesler & Smith, 1963; Smith, 1975; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Largent, 1985; Arora, 1986; States, 1990; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Barron, 1999; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006; Trudell & Ammirati, 2009; Lodge et al., 2013.) Herb. Kuo 08171401, 08171403.

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Hygrophorus speciosus

Hygrophorus speciosus

Hygrophorus speciosus

Hygrophorus speciosus

Hygrophorus speciosus

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Kuo, M. (2014, September). Hygrophorus speciosus. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: