Hygrocybe cuspidata

Hygrocybe cuspidata
Image Courtesy of Emily Johnson
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Group of Fungi: Agarics

Family: Hygrophoraceae

Latin Name: Hygrocybe cuspidata (Peck) Roody

Common Name: Candy Apple Waxy Cup

Description: Total height 1 1/4–2 3/4 in (3–7 cm); cap 3/4–2 in (2-5 cm) wide, deep scarlet at first and then fading to orange-red, smooth upper surface, shiny and viscid, conical when young but becoming flatten with age; gills noticeably thick, waxy-looking (hence the common name), yellow to orange; stalk 1–2 1/4 in (2.5–6 cm) long, 1/4–3/8 in (0.5–1 cm) in diameter, usually the same diameter throughout, the same color as the cap except for the white base; annulus absent; volva absent; spores white in mass.

Biological Role: Decomposer of humus and litter.

Habitat: On the ground in broadleaf and mixed broadleaf/conifer forests; usually occurring in small groups.

Geographical Distribution: Found throughout eastern North America.

Comments: Because of its bright red color, this fungus is unlikely to be overlooked. There are several similar species of Hygrocybe. One of these is Hygrocybe conica, which has a fruiting body that is initially bright red to orange but turns black with age or when bruised.

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