Hygrocybe conica

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Hygrocybe conica
Hygrocybe conica (2005 11 07) 1.jpg
Hygrocybe conica,
the witch's hat - Netherlands
Scientific classification
H. conica
Binomial name
Hygrocybe conica
(Schaeff.) P.Kumm. (1871)
Hygrocybe conica
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
Mycological characteristics
gills on hymenium
cap is conical
hymenium is adnexed
stipe is bare
spore print is white
ecology is mycorrhizal
edibility: inedible

Hygrocybe conica, commonly known as the witch's hat, conical wax cap or conical slimy cap, is a colourful member of the genus Hygrocybe (the waxcaps), found across northern Europe and North America. Originally described as Hygrophorus conicus, it may be a complex of closely related and similar species.


The species was first described scientifically in 1774 by German polymath Jacob Christian Schäffer, who named it Agaricus conicus.[1] Paul Kummer transferred it to the genus Hygrocybe in 1871.[2]


Showing some black discolouration

The witch's hat is a small mushroom, with a convex to conical yellow-orange to red cap 2 to 5 cm (¾-2 inches) in diameter, though very occasionally larger specimens up to 8 or 9 cm (3½ in) diameter are found. It turns black when cut or bruised.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The witch's hat is widely distributed in grasslands and conifer woodlands across North America, Europe and Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand, being found in summer and autumn. It is likely that what is currently termed Hygrocybe conica is a complex of closely related species, some of which are suspected of being poisonous.[3] Though Hygrocybe conica occurs in Australia, principally near urban areas, many collections originally assigned to this species are the similar Hygrocybe astatogala.[4]


The edibility or otherwise of Hygrocybe conica is unclear;[5] its small size and being coated in a sticky substance render it of limited palatability anyway. There is a report of poisoning from China in the early part of the 20th century which was allegedly from this species.[6][failed verification]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schaeffer, Julius C. (1774). Fungorum qui in Bavaria et Palatinatu circa Ratisbonam nascuntur Icones (in Latin). 4. Regensburg: Apud J.J. Palmium. p. 2.
  2. ^ Kummer P. (1871). Der Führer in die Pilzkunde (in German). Zerbst: C. Luppe. p. 111.
  3. ^ Nilsson S, Persson O (1977). Fungi of Northern Europe 2: Gill-Fungi. New York, New York: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-063006-0.
  4. ^ Young AM (2005). Fungi of Australia: Hygrophoraceae. Canberra, ACT: (Australian Biological Resources Study) CSIRO. ISBN 978-0-643-09195-5.
  5. ^ Phillips, Roger (2010) [2005]. Mushrooms and Other Fungi of North America. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books. p. 76. ISBN 978-1-55407-651-2.
  6. ^ Kuo M. "Hygrocybe conica". Mushroomexpert. Retrieved 21 October 2015.

Further reading[edit]

  • Führer, Bruce Alexander (2005) A Field Guide to Australian Fungi Bloomings Books, Melbourne, Australia, ISBN 1-876473-51-7

External links[edit]