Witch’s Hat

(Hygrocybe conica)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

Witch’s Hat

NatureServe

not listed

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common and widespread

Season

Early summer through fall

Habitat/Hosts

Deciduous woodlands

 

 

   
   
 

 

    Photo by Carrie Schunk

Identification

This 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

 


Distribution Distribution Map  

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


Comments

 


Taxonomy

Division:

Basidiomycota (club fungi)

 

Subdivision:

Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)

 

Class:

Agaricomycetes (mushroom-forming fungi)

 

Subclass:

Agaricomycetidae

 

Order:

Agaricales (gill mushrooms)

 

Family:

Hygrophoraceae

 
Synonyms

Agaricus conicus

Godfrinia conica

Hygrophorus conicus

Hygrocybe conica

 
Common
Names

Blackening Waxcap

Conic Waxcap

Conical Slimy Cap

Conical Waxy cap

Witch’s Hat


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Striate

Striped or grooved in parallel lines (striae).

 

Umbonate

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

       

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Carrie Schunk


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  Hygrocybe conica - Hygrophore conique
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About

Published on Oct 6, 2012

Hygrocybe conica - Hygrophore conique

 
     

 

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Carrie Schunk
10/7/2018

Location: Lake County

Witch’s Hat


     
     
 

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