Virtual Fauna
Virtual Fauna of Lakeland Waxcaps and Grassland fungi

Waxcaps and Grassland fungi in Cumbria

Waxcaps and other grassland fungi are indicators of ancient grasslands

Waxcaps and Grassland fungi in Cumbria
Fill in the online recording form to register your waxcap sightings

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 old churchyards.

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 and we will try to identify them.

PDF Icon  Download Waxcap Fungi Leaflet
Click on a species name below: (coming soon)
Bitter Waxcap   Hygrocybe mucronella
Blackening Waxcap   Hygrocybe conica
Blushing Waxcap   Hygrocybe ovina
Butter Waxcap   Hygrocybe ceracea
Cedarwood Waxcap   Hygrocybe russocoriacea
Citrine Waxcap   Hygrocybe citrinovirens
Crimson Waxcap   Hygrocybe punicea
Date Waxcap   Hygrocybe spadicea
Dune Waxcap   Hygrocybe conicoides
Earthy Waxcap   Hygrocybe fornicata
Fibrous Waxcap   Hygrocybe intermedia
Glutinous Waxcap   Hygrocybe glutinipes
Goblet Waxcap   Hygrocybe cantharellus
Golden Waxcap   Hygrocybe chlorophana
Grey Waxcap   Hygrocybe lacmus
Heath Waxcap   Hygrocybe laeta
Honey Waxcap   Hygrocybe reidii
Meadow Waxcap   Hygrocybe pratensis
Mountain Waxcap  Hygrocybe salicis-herbaceae
Nitrous Waxcap   Hygrocybe nitrata
Oily Waxcap   Hygrocybe quieta
Orange Waxcap   Hygrocybe aurantiosplendens
Parrot Waxcap   Hygrocybe psittacina
Persistent Waxcap   Hygrocybe persitans
Pink Waxcap   Hygrocybe calyptriformis
Scarlet Waxcap   Hygrocybe coccinea
Slimy Waxcap   Hygrocybe irrigata
Spangle Waxcap   Hygrocybe insipida
Splendid Waxcap   Hygrocybe splendidissima
Snowy Waxcap   Hygrocybe virginea
Toasted Waxcap   Hygrocybe colemanniana
Vermilion Waxcap   Hygrocybe miniata
Yellow-foot Waxcap   Hygrocybe flavipes
a waxcap   Hygrocybe turunda
a waxcap   Hygrocybe calciphila
a waxcap   Hygrocybe coccineocrenata
a waxcap   Hygrocybe helobia
a waxcap   Hygrocybe vitellina

Club & coral fungi
Yellow Club   Clavulinopsis helvola
Apricot Club   Clavulinopsis luteoalba
Golden Spindles   Clavulinopsis fusiformis
White Spindles   Clavaria fragilis
Smokey Spindles   Clavaria fumosa
Moor Club   Clavaria argillacea
Beige Coral   Clavulinopsis umbrinella
Meadow Coral   Clavulinopsis corniculata
Violet Coral   Clavaria zollingeri
Olive Earth-tongue   Microglossum olivaceum
Hairy Earth-tongue   Trichoglossum hirsutum
a black earth-tongue   Geoglossum cookeanum
a black earth-tongue   Geoglossum umbratile