Meadow Waxcap (Hygrocybe Pratensis – Cuphophyllus pratensis) – Identification

Meadow Waxcap / Autumn / Winter / Edible

Scientific Name

Hygrocybe/Cuphophyllus pratensis


Family

Hygrophoraceae


Habitat

Grassland and pasture. Grows in groups or troops or sometimes individually.


Description

A nice common mushroom found in late autumn and winter it as the name suggest grows in meadows. It is thought of as the best of the Waxcaps as it has a good mushroomy taste and thick substantial flesh. A light in the dark of winter foraging!


Identifying Features for Meadow Waxcap:


Cap:

Orange to buff in colour the cap is convex to flat sometimes having upturned edges with a wide umbo (nipple)  and thick flesh.  A bit waxy looking and feeling. 

Stu’s Images, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Stem:

Off-white. Stout and tapering slightly towards the base.

Stu’s Images, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Gills:

Gills cream to orange/straw coloured. Thick waxy and running down the stem (decurrent) . Quite widely spaced. There are veins or very small gills running at right angles between the main gills

Decurrent Gill
Andreas Kunze, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Smell:

Mushroom odour but the best tasting Waxcap.


Spores:

Off white to cream


Uses

A great edible so use in dishes calling for mushroom or to add a great flavour to stocks and stews. 


In food

As this is the best tasting waxcap, it is a great addition to meals but is also great on toast as a winter mushroom treat!


Harvesting

Found between September and December in grasslands or meadows often in groups but sometimes singly.


Known hazards

None 


Potential lookalikes

This mushroom has no potential lookalikes and is safe to eat so long as you follow its identifying characteristics carefully.

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