Cumbria is a good area for grassland fungi, but our knowledge of their whereabouts
is incomplete. Your sightings can help us identify important sites for these fungi.
Over 30 species of waxcap have been reported in Cumbria. Along with several other
species of grassland fungi including club fungi, earth-tongues and pink-gill toadstools.
Follow the links from this page to find out more about the different species.
When and where to find waxcaps Most grassland fungi, including waxcaps, can be found
between September and December although exact fruiting times are affected by weather
conditions. Good areas to look for waxcaps and other grassland fungi include unimproved
pasture and sheep-walk on the lower fells, unfertilised lawns and short turf in
How to identify waxcaps
Some species are fairly easily identified by their colour and shape but others
have to be examined under a microscope. They can fade and change colour with
age, so fresh specimens are best to work with. It may not be possible to
identify some specimens to species with any confidence.
It is helpful to note the colour and size of the waxcap and also whether the cap
and/or stem are slimy (viscid) or dry. Also whether the gills are joined to the
top of the stem (adnate) or not (adnexed) and if they are, whether they run down
the stem at all (decurrent).
The Waxcap Fungi in Cumbria leaflet pdf gives some tips on identifying some of
the commoner species in Cumbria and more information is given in the species
accounts on this site. The best book on waxcaps is by David Boertman (1995)
The genus Hygrocybe - Fungi of Northern Europe, Vol.1 ISBN 87-983581-1-1.
Identification keys are also available online, for example at
You can also send your photographs to
firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to identify them.