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Scarlet Waxcap

Edible Edible
Autumn Autumn
Winter Winter

The Scarlet Waxcap is one of the smaller red waxcaps, can grow in large numbers in the right conditions and can be more gregarious than other red waxcaps and can be found in several different environments. Being fairly rare though and small this beautiful mushroom, although edible, is better to admire and photograph than to pick for any reason unless found in very large numbers.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Scarlet Waxcap (EN), Scarlet Hood, Cap Cwyr Coch (CY), Wilgotnica Szkarłatna (PL), Piros Nedűgomba (HU)
Scientific Name Hygrocybe coccinea
Season Start Sep
Season End Dec
Average Mushroom height (CM) 2-7
Average Cap width (CM) 1-6
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.


1-6 cm. Conical/bell-shaped, can open to convex or flatten with age. Starting deep scarlet but fading to orange/red/yellow.


Gills starting orange/red becoming yellow to cream with age. Broadly joined to stem (adnate) with a small decurrent tooth. Not crowded.


2-7 cm long, 0.3-0.8 cm diameter. Scarlet to orange red, yellowing slightly towards the base. Hollow.


Red or concolourous with the outside of the mushroom.


Fields, meadows, heaths, open woodland, grasslands, lawn and roadsides but they prefer land that has not been fertilised, treated with chemicals or ploughed.

Possible Confusion

The Crimson Waxcap (Hygrocybe punicea), pictured, or the Splendid Waxcap (Hygrocybe splendidissima). The Crimson Waxcap (Hygrocybe punicea) is larger and has a thicker stem and mainly white flesh, the Splendid Waxcap (Hygrocybe splendidissima) has an irregular, wavy, flattened stem.
The Blackening Waxcap (Hygrocybe conica) blackens on cutting or with age.

Spore Print

White to pale yellow. Ellipsoid.

Taste / Smell

Not strong tasting but a colourful addition to any meal if there are a lot about.


Fairly common.

Other Facts

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.


28 comments for Scarlet Waxcap

  1. Jane says:

    I have found what I think is a scarlet wax cap in my garden, when clearing out very deep well rotted leaf material. There was about 3 individual caps about 1ft apart. It’s March so not sure why they are around. One was growing in a well rotted dead branch. It doesn’t have gills though. I live in Cornwall about 600ft above sea level

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      They sound like Scarlet Elf Cups which are around now and grow on rotting wood.

  2. Susan Ryan says:

    I saw scarlet wax caps this morning on The Curragh, county Kildare, Ireland.

    1. Curragh Walker says:

      Just saw a load of them this morning on the curragh too…. gorgeous but feared that they were poisonous, so I let them be…. there was a lot of clusters of them.

  3. Simon Smith says:

    Found on the western shoulder of the Haldon Forest, mossy lane banks, not far from Ashton. Devon

  4. S L Brown says:

    Found on emsworthy mire, Dartmoor. Near Saddle Tor. 29 Nov 20

  5. Denise says:

    Found them in Washington State USA. In Flaming Geyser Park wooded forest area.

  6. M & J Rochefort says:

    Found on Nordy Bank, a hill fort and part of the Clee Hills, Shropshire, on Boxing Day 26/12/20.

  7. Marie Girard says:

    Found some scarlet waxcap beauties in July 2021. I was hiking in a beautiful forest trail in Ontario, Canada. I have never seen them before.

  8. Laurel says:

    Beautiful scattering of these in a meadow by Stourhead forest.

  9. Natalie Hawkins says:

    Found these at Fewston Reservoir. Yorkshire, UK

  10. Bryn says:

    Found three small, about 1cm across v bright red toadstools in short grass, off the beaten track, in Norfolk
    Very striking
    I would post an image but can’t see a way to do it 🙁

  11. Anita says:

    Found one yesterday in my flower garden.
    Trinidad & Tobago, New Grant.

  12. Bear Humphreys says:

    Just found a few patches of these today, the grassy shores of Crowdy Reservoir, the western side of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall. Many thanks to your site here for plenty of photos to match with mine to ID them.

  13. Peter Batten says:

    Two wax caps spotted in a car park in the New Forest 30 October 2021

  14. Tracey Morris says:

    I think I may have wax caps on my lawn (red yellow and orange)…

    Nottinghamshire UK

  15. Brian Morrissy says:

    Found one today 14th Nov… right on the coastal cliffs southern Ireland (Co Cork)…

  16. Marilyn Jackson says:

    Found a small group of them in one of our fields in between Welsh rainforest in Carmarthenshire.

  17. Ruth Randles says:

    Found this morning in Field at my house in Foxford Mayo, cluster of 8 only just come in this area , lots of other mushroom of different varieties

  18. muriel dyga says:

    Saw a few of these in grass of woodland garden at Spean Bridge, Fort William, Scotland. November 2021

  19. Methadi says:

    I saw scarlet waxcaps in my garden. In sri lanka western province
    . I have never seen them before. There were 10 of them. I don’t know whether they grow in sri lanka

  20. Brian Norminton says:

    Just seen a single Scarlet Waxcap over a sea cliff at the mouth of the Yealm Estuary. Beautiful, especially the dazzling gills.

  21. Sami says:

    I have found a lot of scarlet wax caps growing on my lawn in North Skye, they start off looking like clusters of little red apples growing in the grass, then start to flatten out as mushrooms, getting lighter in colour, they’re beautiful.

  22. Mel says:

    Found a cluster of these beauties in a lane, Co.Down.
    Some were just developing and rosy apple red, whilst others had flattened out with the orange and yellow rims. Beautiful.

  23. Dawn says:

    Found some clusters of this beauty yesterday in a mossy lawn area in my dad’s back garden (Morecambe, Lancashire).

    I’ve never seen them before. They’re so pretty!

  24. Sarah Bell says:

    I have found a lovely big patch on the communal field opposite my house. Keighley, West Yorkshire. What a lovely surprise and so bright and colourful!

  25. Ash says:

    Found quite a number of clusters of scarlet wax caps scattered across a locally loved hill in South Wales this morning 🙂 i’m pleased to see them come again in the same place after spying them here for the first time a couple of years ago. They are a rather pretty surprise for sure!

  26. Liz Cruse says:

    We have beautiful, very small, brilliant red fungi growing in the grass in the front garden. Never seen them here in the 16 years we have lived in this house (edge of New Forest, near Christchurch)

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