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Hygrocybe ingrata J.P. Jensen & F.H. Møller

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Scientific name
Hygrocybe ingrata
J.P. Jensen & F.H. Møller
Common names
Dingy Waxcap
Jensens vokshat
rødnende lutvokssopp
rodnande lutvaxskivling
Rötender Nitratsaftling
Hygrophore à odeur désagréable
Rötender Nitrat-Saftling
crveneća vlažnica
voskovka červenající
lúčnica luhová
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Assessment date
IUCN Red List Category
IUCN Red List Criteria
Kautmanova, I., Knutsson, T., Krikorev, M., Læssøe, T. & Senn-Irlet, B.
Dahlberg, A.

Assessment Notes

The content on this page is fetched from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/71595761/71595999


Hygrocybe ingrata is a rather large, conspicuous agaric with a yellow-brown to pale brown, smooth pileus of 2-6 cm, easy to recognize on the nitrous smell in combination with a reddish coloration of the exposed context. According to present knowledge it is restricted to Europe, where it is widespread, but rare to very rare everywhere (Candusso 1997, Boertmann 2010). This waxcap is one of the best indicators of species-rich semi-natural grasslands (so called ‘waxcap grasslands’) which were, for a long time, managed in a traditional way (Jordal 1997, Adamcik and Kautmanova 2005, Arnolds 2015). These habitats are dependent on moderate grazing intensity and/or hand mowing without the use of artificial fertilizers, dung and pesticides. They are rapidly decreasing, together with their characteristic mycoflora, due to changes in land use: agricultural intensification, decline of traditional farming practice and abandoning of low productive grasslands.

Hygrocybe ingrata
is decreasing in all areas where it occurs and included in national Red Lists of 13 European countries. Habitat loss and decline  of quality of habitat have exceeded 30% over the last 50 years (estimated three generations; Dahlberg and Mueller (2011). The decline in population size over this time has probably been higher. The decline in habitat is expected to continue even more rapidly over the next 50 years. The present population size is estimated to exceed the threshold for Near Threatened for criterion C. Hence, H. ingrata  is assessed as Vulnerable, VU, because of a reduction in population size of more than 30% over the last 50 years, a decline suspected to continue  and caused by habitat loss and degradation. This meets the thresholds for VU A2c+3c+4c. 

Taxonomic notes

According to recent molecular research the species belongs to the genus Neohygrocybe and the correct name is in that case Neohygrocybe ingrata (J.L.Jensen & F.H.Møller) Herink (Lodge et al. 2014).

Geographic range

This species is mainly confined to temperate Europe. The eastern boundary of its distribution is less clear because of lack of data.

Population and Trends

The population size difficult to estimate but estimated to exceed the thresholds for a threatened or Near Threatened category. However, populations are decreasing in all known countries of occurrence. This decrease is supposed to be at least 30% over 30 years (past, future and ongoing) but may in fact be as high as 50% over three generations (50 years; e.g., 1965-2015) and even higher over longer time-frames.

Population Trend: decreasing

Habitat and Ecology

Hygrocybe ingrata is confined to ancient, semi-natural, herb-rich  grasslands, mostly on calcareous or base-rich soils with low availability of nitrogen and phosphorus. Until recently this fungus was considered to be saprotrophic but recent research have shown that at least some, and probably all, Hygrocybe species have some kind mutualistic associations with vascular plants (Kuyper 2015). H. ingrata is a representative of a very characteristic fungus community with a large diversity of specialized  taxonomic groups (Hygrocybe spp., Entoloma spp, Dermoloma spp., Clavaroid fungi, Geoglossaceae and many other fungi) that are strictly dependent on habitats with low vegetation and limited availability of phosphorus and nitrogen  due to a long continuity of grazing and/or mowing (Mc Hugh et al. 2001, Adamcik and Kautmanova 2005, Arnolds 2015). Addition of fertilizers immediately changes soil conditions and vegetation cover in a way that is detrimental for the fungus community (Arnolds 1989, 2015).


Like other species dependent on semi-natural grasslands, Hygrocybe ingrata is threatened in the first place by the loss of habitat due to decreasing small scale farming. The main reasons for the decline of H. ingrata and other grassland fungi are increase of nitrogen and phosphorus content of the soil by the application of fertilizers and organic dung; soil disturbance by ploughing and successively reseeding of high productive grasslands and  abandoning or afforestation of low productive grasslands.

According to NATURA 2000 reports, grassland habitats in Europe are steadily decreasing, mainly due to abandonment or change in land use (Calaciura and Spinelli 2008). According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the area of grasslands in the EU declined by 12.8% from 1990 to 2003 (Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations 2006: FAO Statistical Yearbook – FAOSTAT). Approximately 60% of newly afforested areas in the EU were formerly used as permanent or seasonal grazing land or for hay-production in natural meadows.

In addition the habitat quality of the remaining semi-natural grasslands is declining in many areas by inappropriate management. More than 75% of the grasslands habitats in EU are in an unfavourable conservation status, according to draft data provided by Member States under Article 17 of the Habitats Directive. Lack of grazing or mowing leads to the development of a tall and dense sward that restricts sporocarp production, although it is not yet clear if this affects also the mycelia under the ground. Lack of necessary management is also a problem in some nature reserves (see Conservation Actions). In densely populated areas nitrogen deposition is an additional threat to this group of fungi (Arnolds 2015).

In urban and suburban environments, the application of lawn fertilizers, fungicides and moss killers can also affect the species (Mitchell 2000).

Hygrocybe ingrata
is included in national Red Lists of 13 European countries. The species is regarded as (critically) endangered in Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Poland and Switzerland.

Conservation Actions

Site protection and management of habitats are important conservation actions for the benefit of Hygrocybe ingrata and numerous other fungi with comparable ecological demands. Only a small proportion of the sites with this species is protected at the moment. Some grasslands with high species diversity and conservation value (including grassland fungi such as H. ingrata ) are situated within national parks or nature reserves, but also in these areas the management is not always appropriate to maintain the mycological richness. Continuation of traditional management by grazing or mowing is necessary and demands careful planning (Boertmann 2010, Arnolds 2015).

Use and Trade

Might be edible.

Source and Citation

Kautmanova, I., Knutsson, T., Krikorev, M., Læssøe, T. & Senn-Irlet, B. 2015. Hygrocybe ingrata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T71595761A71595999. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T71595761A71595999.en .Accessed on 10 February 2024

Country occurrence