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Crimson Waxcap

Edible Edible
Autumn Autumn
Winter Winter

One of the larger Waxcaps, the Crimson Waxcap is less common than the Scarlet Waxcap but can grow in large numbers in the right conditions which means fields, meadows and heaths that have been left free of chemicals, fertilisers or ploughing.
Being fairly rare this beautiful mushroom, although edible, is better to admire and photograph unless found in large numbers.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Crimson Waxcap (EN), Cap Cwyr Rhuddgoch (CY), Wilgotnica Karminowa (PL), Vérvörös Nedűgomba (HU)
Scientific Name Hygrocybe punicea
Season Start Sep
Season End Dec
Average Mushroom height (CM) 3-15
Average Cap width (CM) 3-15
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.


3-15 cm. Deep red but fading to yellow or paler from the centre of the cap. The cap starts conical/bell shaped but will open out to flat with upturned edges in older specimens.


Fairly widely spaced, starting yellow but turning red with age. The gills can be free of the stem or slightly joined (adnexed).


3-15 cm long, 0.5-2 cm diameter. Yellow turning to red further up the stem but white and slightly rooting at the base. The stem is quite stout and fibrous.


Mainly white or concolourous with the outside of the mushroom towards the edges.


Fields, heaths and graveyards with short grass that have been left natural and not fertilised or ploughed for a long time.

Possible Confusion

The Splendid Waxcap (Hygrocybe splendidissima), pictured, is very similar but usually has a twisted, folded stem and the cap can feel drier.
The Scarlet Waxcap (Hygrocybe coccinea) is smaller with a thinner stem and red flesh.
The Blackening Waxcap (Hygrocybe conica) is smaller and the flesh will discolour black when bruised or even just touched.

Spore Print

White. Ellipsoid.

Taste / Smell



Fairly rare.

Other Facts

There have been reports from North America that a few people have suffered gastric upsets from eating these mushrooms but no reports from Europe yet.
Waxcaps are becoming fairly rare due to loss of habitat so they should only be eaten when found in profusion and some mushrooms should always be left behind.


3 comments for Crimson Waxcap

  1. Michael Bowden says:

    I just wanted to say that I found your website by chance and found it very informative.
    I think I found a crimson or scarlet wax cap this morning whilst out at work
    I live in Carlisle / Northern England and had never seen one before. It’s a privilege when they’re so rare and lovely to see the colours of creation in months when there is so little colour

  2. Dawn Harrison says:

    We think we have a little cluster of wax caps on the lawn. I’d post a photo if I could!

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      You can send photos for identification to [email protected]. Please ensure you send clear photos including the cap, gills and stem for mushrooms and leaves, flowers, buds, pods and a photo of the entire plant. Any additional info can help with the ID, like smells, location and size.

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