Witch’s Hat

(Hygrocybe conica)

Conservation Status
Witch’s Hat
Photo by Carrie Schunk
  IUCN Red List

not listed


not listed


not listed


Witch’s Hat is a small waxcap mushroom. It is widespread and common in North America. In Minnesota it is found from early summer through fall in deciduous and mixed woodlands. It grows on the ground in damp soil, alone, scattered, or in groups under hardwood trees, especially oak. In other areas it is also found under conifers and in grasslands. All parts of the mushroom turn black when bruised.

The cap is usually to 1½ in diameter but occasionally up to 2 or more in diameter. When it first appears it is sharply cone-shaped, sticky, and usually bright orange, sometimes bright red. As it ages fades to yellow or orangish and flattens out, becoming broadly cone-shaped or broadly convex with a pointed raised center (umbonate). Mature caps are greasy or dry and hairless or covered with fine, silky hairs. Older caps develop black areas and eventually turn completely black.

The stalk is 1¼ to 3¼ long and to thick. It may be yellow, olive-yellow, orangish-yellow, orange, or red, but it always has a white to gray base. It is usually grooved, often twisted, and never slimy. Older stalks are hollow, split easily, and eventually turn black.

The gills are thick, closely spaced, waxy, and soft. They are whitish and sometimes tinged with yellow at first, becoming yellow then orange as the cap matures, and fading to gray with age. They are narrowly attached to the stalk. Between the gills there are usually one or more short, thick gills at the margin that do not extend all of the way to the stalk. The sport print is white.

The flesh is thin, waxy, and the same color as the cap. It soon blackens when cut. It was once considered poisonous due to four reported deaths in China, but those reports are now thought to be mistaken. It may be somewhat psychoactive. Eating it is not recommended.


Similar Species

Habitat and Hosts

Deciduous woodlands




Early summer through fall


Distribution Map



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




Common and widespread

  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Division Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subdivision 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 Hygrocybe  



Agaricus conicus

Godfrinia conica

Hygrophorus conicus

Hygrocybe conica


Common Names


Blackening Waxcap

Conic Waxcap

Conical Slimy Cap

Conical Waxy cap

Witch’s Hat












Striped or grooved in parallel lines (striae).



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

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Honey Fae (Farah)

    Witch’s Hat      

Carrie Schunk

    Witch’s Hat      
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos








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Other Videos
  Hygrocybe conica - Hygrophore conique

Published on Oct 6, 2012

Hygrocybe conica - Hygrophore conique




Visitor Sightings

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  Honey Fae (Farah)

Location: Duluth, MN

Witch’s Hat  
  Carrie Schunk

Location: Lake County

Witch’s Hat  
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings






Created: 10/9/2018

Last Updated:

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