FAUNA and FUNGHI of MALTA
(www.MaltaFauna.com)
Hygrocybe conica  (Scop.) P. Kumm. 1871
Main synonym = Hygrophorus conicus    (Scop.) Fr. 1838
Taxonomical Classification:  Fungi / Basidiomycota / Agaricomycetes / Agaricales / Hygrophoraceae
Witch's hat, Conical waxcap     Maltese name not known
Further Information:
Hygrocybe conica (Schaeff.: Fries) Kumm. is a small, reddish-orange fungus which has a viscid cap (but not stem) that varies in size from 2cm to 8cm diameter (usually 2-5cm). When young, the cap is orange-red, viscid and acute cone-shaped. With maturity, the cap dries, flattens out and darkens to a final coal-black colour. Bruised parts also becomes black.

It has no bitter taste unlike the bitter waxcap (H. mucronella). It produces a whitish spore print and the rod-shaped spores are 10-14 micrometers long.

Hygrocybe conica is the most common and widely distributed species in the cluster of related species that forms the witch's hat complex. Hygrocybe singeri is similar, but has a slimy stem. Other members of the cluster include Hygrocybe nigrescens, which is inconsistently described but may differ in minor morphological features. Hygrocybe cuspidata blackens only at the stem base, if at all. In Malta, this was found in an olive grove. Thanks to Edwin Lanfranco and Fabrizio Boccardo who helped in the identification of this species.










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