Persistent Waxcap

(Hygrocybe acutoconica)

Conservation Status
Persistent Waxcap
Photo by Bobbi Johnson
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked


not listed


Persistent Waxcap is a colorful, medium-sized, gilled mushroom. It occurs in Europe, North America, and Central America. In the United States it is common in the east and on the West Coast, uncommon in the Midwest, and mostly absent in the Great Plains and Mountain States. It is uncommon in Minnesota. It is found in late spring through early fall in deciduous and mixed woodlands or in open areas under trees. It grows on the ground, alone or scattered, under oaks and other hardwoods. The ecology is uncertain. It is similar in appearance to Witch’s Hat (Hygrocybe conica), but unlike that mushroom, Persistent Waxcap does not blacken when handled, bruised, or cut. This is the feature that gives the mushroom its commoon name.

The cap can be ¾ to 4 (2 to 10 cm) in diameter but is usually no more than 1916 (4 cm) in diameter. When it first appears it is sharply cone-shaped (acute). This is the feature that gives the mushroom its species epithet. It is bright yellow to yellowish-orange or orange. The margins are often faintly lined (striate). The cap flattens out as it ages, becoming broadly cone-shaped or broadly convex, but usually retaining a pointed raised center (umbonate). Mature caps are hairless and slimy or tacky when moist. On older caps the margins often turn upward and tear, exposing the gills.

The stalk can be 2 to 4¾ (6 to 12 cm) long and to ½ (3 to 12 mm) thick, but is usually no more than 3 (8 cm) long and ¼ (6 mm) thick. It is either the same size at the base and the top, or is slightly tapered to the top. It is smooth when young, becoming grooved as it matures. It is mostly yellow to yellowish-orange, but is always white at the base. Older stalks are often twisted, split easily, and turn grayish or almost black at the base.

The gills are thick, closely spaced, waxy, and soft. They are yellow and do not blacken when handled. They are either narrowly attached to the stalk or are free, not attached to the stalk.

The flesh is soft, thin, waxy, and the same color as the cap. It does not blacken when cut. It is edible and colorful, but insubstantial and flavorless.

The sport print is white.


Similar Species


Witch’s Hat (Hygrocybe conica) gills are usually whitish, sometimes tinged with yellow. It blackens when handled.

Habitat and Hosts

Deciduous and mixed woodlands, and open areas under trees




Late spring through fall


Distribution Map



4, 7, 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 Hygrocybe  
  Section Hygrocybe  
  Subsection Macrosporae  

Subordinate Taxa


Several varieties of Hygrocybe acutoconica have been described. Some have been raised to species status. The others are not widely accepted.




Hygrocybe aurantiolutescens

Hygrocybe konradii

Hygrocybe persistens

Hygrocybe subglobispora

Hygrophorus acutoconicus

Hygrophorus persistens


Common Names


Persistent Waxcap










Striped or grooved in parallel lines (striae).



On mushrooms, having a distinct, raised, knob-like projection in the center of the cap.




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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Bobbi Johnson


...currently sprouting in our yard

    Persistent Waxcap      





Hygrocybe acutoconica
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Hygrocybe acutoconica  



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Location: Location: Silver Bay, MN

...currently sprouting in our yard

Persistent Waxcap







Created: 11/1/2021

Last Updated:

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