Butter Waxcap

(Hygrocybe ceracea)

Conservation Status
Butter Waxcap
Photo by Luciearl
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked


not listed


Butter Waxcap is a small, brightly colored, late season, gilled mushroom. It occurs in Europe, North America, and Australia. In the United States it occurs from the East Coast to the Upper Midwest and in the Pacific Northwest. It is common in Europe, less common in North America, and uncommon in Minnesota. It is found from late summer through fall, in areas with short grass, including grasslands, pastures, parks, and lawns, and in mixed woodlands. It grows on the ground, scattered or in groups, on soil or on moss. The ecology is uncertain.

The cap can be to 1½ (1 to 4 cm) in diameter but is usually no more than 1 (25 mm) in diameter. When it first appears it is hemispherical, not cone-shaped. It is lemon yellow to orangish-yellow, darker towards the center. The margins are translucent and faintly lined (striate). The upper surface is hairless and is covered with tiny nodules that are visible only under magnification. It is somewhat shiny and appears waxy. This is the feature that gives the genus its common name. As it ages, the cap becomes broadly convex; it fades to straw yellow; and the margins slowly fade to white. Mature caps are dry and almost flat or slightly depressed. When moist they are sticky or greasy (viscid) to the touch but are never slimy. On older caps the margins often turn upward slightly, exposing the gills.

The stalk can be ¾ to 2 (2 to 5 cm) long and 116 to (2 to 4 mm) thick, but is usually no more than 1½ (4 cm) long. It is hollow and the same size at the base and the top. It is hairless and the same color as the cap, sometimes orangish at the base. It is slightly viscid when young but soon becomes dry. It is usually round in cross section, sometimes compressed. There is no ring on the stalk.

The gills are soft, thick, waxy, and spaced far apart. They are pale yellow to nearly white. They are either broadly attached to the stalk or slightly run down the stalk. Between adjacent primary gills there is a smaller, shorter gill.

The flesh is yellowish, thin, fragile, and very soft. It is edible and colorful, but insubstantial and flavorless.

The sport print is white.


Similar Species


Golden Waxy Cap (Hygrocybe flavescens) cap is larger. The cap is lemon yellow to golden yellow or sometimes orange toward the center. The gills may be closely or widely spaced. They are narrowly attached to the stalk or not attached (free). It is found in woodlands.

Habitat and Hosts

Grasslands, pastures, parks, lawns, and mixed woodlands




Late summer to fall


Distribution Map



4, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.




Uncommon in Minnesota

  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Phylum Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subphylum Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)  
  Class Agaricomycetes (mushrooms, bracket fungi, puffballs, and allies)  
  Subclass Agaricomycetidae  
  Order Agaricales (common gilled mushrooms and allies)  
  Suborder Hygrophorineae  
  Family Hygrophoraceae  
  Subfamily Hygrocyboideae  
  Tribe Hygrocybeae  
  Genus Hygrocybe (waxcaps)  
  Subgenus Pseudohygrocybe  
  Section Coccineae  



Agaricus ceraceus

Agaricus cereus

Agaricus hypozanthus

Gymnopus ceraceus

Hygrocybe vitellinoides

Hygrophorus ceraceus

Pseudohygrocybe ceracea


Common Names


Butter Waxcap

Golden Yellow Waxgill












Striped or grooved in parallel lines (striae).


Not Saprobic

Hygrocybe mushrooms were long thought to get their nutrients from dead or decaying organic matter (saprobic). This is now known to be untrue. However, the hosts and type of partnerships to those hosts remains unclear.

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Bright yellow mushrooms.

    Butter Waxcap   Butter Waxcap  

Appeared to have tiny mites on it.

    Butter Waxcap      
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos








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Other Videos
  Hygrocybe ceracea, Butter Waxcaps, field wild mushroom
Adrian through nature

Jun 5, 2019

Hygrocybe ceracea, Butter Waxcaps, field wild mushroom

I go through the forests, mountains, hills, fields, and waters to understand the living world and to create a living mind.

I'm just a man who is on passing on this living earth.

A living earth that is closer to death, because of us, of the human being. I spend all my time in nature, enjoying its show. All this time I try to make a video encyclopedia with flora and fauna that I encounter on this living earth. Sometimes with human fauna ...

I meet wild mushrooms, medicinal mushrooms, edible mushrooms, dead mushrooms, toxic mushrooms, magic mushrooms. Every wild mushroom with its mystery and story. The living earth is still amazing. I meet plants, flowers, trees, shrubs, grass, leaves fallen on the living land, leaves fallen on the dead land, leaves that dance in our thoughts and soul. I meet insects, invertebrates of all kinds, butterflies, worms, larvae, birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians...

But I also encounter deforested forests, hunters, poachers, animals killed, tormented, in a suffering that words can not express. I also meet people who think it is good that they behave like this.

I stretch my hand and save an insect from the drowning. But this people trample under foot my hand. They make their choice. I make my choice.

Sometimes I manage to correctly identify the species of living beings: mushrooms, plants, animals, insects. Sometimes not. What I know is much less than what I do not know. I am just a man in front of a knowledge that surpasses me, overcomes us.

I do not know enough English yet to make my clips more attractive. But I'm learning...A wonderful life, I wish you all!




Visitor Sightings

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Location: Fairview Twp, Cass County

Butter Waxcap

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Created: 11/22/2021

Last Updated:

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