The Hygrocybes belong to the family Hygrophoraceae, commonly known as the Wax Gills or Wax caps, the gills being thick and waxy. Although the caps of the different species come in different colours, they all produce white spores. The caps of some Hygrocybes can be covered with sticky mucous at first, but then they become dryish.

Some names have been changed in recent years, as more studies have been done, and more specimens found. The naming I have used is that used in the checklist published in the New Zealand Journal of Botany, 2001, Vol.39.

Hygrocybe cantharellus

Found in the early autumn, in scrubby bush.

Height: 30-60mm. Cap diam:15-30mm.

The gills are decurrent (run down the stem), and are an orange-yellow colour.

Recently (November 2003 - late spring in New Zealand) I found some Hygrocybe cantharellus in amongst sphagnum moss in a swampy area. Until then, the specimens I had found were in bush, growing in soil, but sometimes amongst mosses.
Hygrocybe miniata

These are a brilliant red. Cap diameter up to 10-30 mm.

The gills often have an orange tinge, fading to a pink colour. It can easily be confused with the other red Hygrocybes, and microscopic details are required to be certain. However, this one usually appears over summer -early autumn in this area.

Hygrocybe rubro-carnosa

This one is usually found in the winter. It is very hard to distinguish from H. firma. However, looking at the spores soon enables them to be identified.

The surface of this species will often appear a golden colour, but the gills and flesh remain quite red.

There is another red Hygrocybe- see Hygrocybe firma. It also comes in several other colours.

There is another red waxgill, but in the Gliophorus genus: Gliophorus subheteromorphus as it is covered in "slime".

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