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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,Scarlet Hood
Scientific Name Hygrocybe coccinea
Season Start Sep
Season End Dec
Average Mushroom height (CM) 5
Average Cap width (CM) 4
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.


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


Gills starting orange/red becoming yellow to cream with age. Joined to stem. Not crowded.


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 is larger and has a thicker stem and mainly white flesh, the Splendid Waxcap has an irregular, wavy, flattened stem.
The Blackening Waxcap, Hygrocybe nigrescens and the Conical Waxcap, Hygrocybe conica but both blacken 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.


10 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.

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