• Proposed
  • Under Assessment
  • Preliminary Assessed
  • VUAssessed
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Hygrocybe aurantiosplendens R. Haller Aar.

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Scientific name
Hygrocybe aurantiosplendens
R. Haller Aar.
Common names
Orange Waxcap
gyllen vokssopp
orangegylden vokshat
Glänzender Orange-Saftling
voskovka skvostná
lúčnica oranžová
Fager vaxskivling
Wilgotnica ozdobna
Orangeglänzender Saftling
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Preliminary Category
VU A2c+3c+4c
Proposed by
Eef Arnolds
Ivona Kautmanova, Tea von Bonsdorff, Eef Arnolds, Armin Mešić, John Bjarne Jordal
Gregory Mueller
Anders Dahlberg, Thomas Læssøe
Comments etc.
Irmgard Krisai-Greilhuber, Pavel Nedelev, Jean Berube, Nicolas Schwab, Daniel Dvořák, Irja Saar, John Bjarne Jordal (old account), Izabela L. Kalucka, Filip Fuljer

Assessment Notes

missing map


Hygrocybe aurantiosplendens is a typical representative of the rich funga of old, unimproved grasslands, a habitat type that is decreasing rapidly in all of Europe. It occasionally grows also in scrub and calcareous forests on moist to dry, base-rich soils. The species is very striking by its size and bright orange basidiocarps and is usually well distinguishable from related species. It is almost only known from Europe, with very few localities in western Asia. In Europe H. aurantiosplendens is widespread, but rare to very rare everywhere (Boertmann, 2010) and decreasing, reflected by its classification in many national and regional Red Lists.

Based on the continuing and projected decline of the global populations of approximately 30-50% in three generations (50 years), Hygrocybe aurantiosplendens is preliminary assessed as Vulnerable based on A2c+3c+4c.

Taxonomic notes

The taxonomic status of collections from N America (GBIF 2021) and Russian Far East (T. Svetasjeva pers. comm.) is uncertain, and they are here regarded as probably related species.

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

Geographic range

Widely distributed in Europe. The species is most frequent in Northern Europe (Scandinavia, Great Britain) and more rare in the south (here often in mountain regions). For data under this name from N America and Russian Far East: see under Names and taxonomy.

Population and Trends

Hygrocybe aurantiosplendens is widespread in Europe, but rare to very rare everywhere (Boertmann 2010) and decreasing. The largest populations seem to be in Scandinavia and Great Britain. The total number of individuals is unknown. In view of the strong decrease of unimproved grasslands in the last 50 years (estimated three generations of this fungus), the number of individuals have decreased by at least 30%, possibly near 50%. The decline is reflected in the position of H. aurantiosplendens on many national Red Lists,  e.g. Endangered in Denmark, Finland, parts of France, Poland; Vulnerable in Austria and Germany; Near threatened in the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden. The decrease is still continuing.

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology

Hygrocybe aurantiosplendens is a characteristic species of old, unimproved, low productive grasslands on loamy, weakly acid to basic, often calcareous soils. It occurs from sea level up to the alpine zone (2500 m in the Alps), but is not found in the alpine zone in Norway. It occasionally grows also in scrub and calcareous forests on moist to dry, base-rich soils. In Norway, about 20% of all records are from calcareous forests, the rest mainly from open grasslands (Jordal et al. 2016). Like other waxcaps, the species lives probably in biotrophic association with herbaceous plants, but details are unknown (Halbwachs et al. (2018).

Boreal ForestTemperate ForestTemperate GrasslandPastureland


Threats are grassland improvement (fertilizer application and soil disturbance) for agro-industry farming, abandoning of low productive grasslands, and forest plantations on poor grassland sites. Moreover the species is vulnerable for acidification and nitrogen deposition (Arnolds 2015).

Agro-industry farmingNutrient loads

Conservation Actions

The most important action will be conservation of sites with rich populations of Hygrocybe aurantiosplendens as nature reserves; continuation of traditional management: mowing and removal of sward or/and grazing in low densities without fertilizer application. If grazing by heavy animals destroys part of the soil, light animals like sheep should be recommended. Habitat conservation by governmental support to traditional agricultural practices is most important, this exists in many countries to maintain extensive agricultural areas, and should be extended to larger areas than today. The species is a representative of a rich funga with many more rare and threatened species; therefore its protection will be beneficial to many more threatened fungi (Boertmann 2010; Arnolds 2015). There is a conservation action plan for this species in Sweden (Jordal 2011).

Site/area protectionAwareness & communicationsInternational levelNational levelConservation payments

Research needed

More detailed research on habitat requirements and habitat exploitation of H. aurantiosplendens would be useful. The habitats should be monitored.

Life history & ecologyPopulation trendsHabitat trends

Use and Trade

No use or trade is known.


Arnolds, E. in C. Bas et al. 1990. Flora agaricina neerlandica 2.
Arnolds, E. 2015. Wasplatengraslanden in Nederland. Deel 1. Ecologische en vegetatiekundige aspecten. Stratiotes 47: 45-75.
Boertmann, D. 2010. The genus Hygrocybe.
Candusso, M. 1997. Hygrophorus sl. Fungi Europaei 6.
GBIF. 2021. Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) data portal. Collection of online herbarium specimens. Available at: http://data.gbif.org.
Griffith, G.W., Gamarra, J.P., Holden, E.M., Mitchel, D., Graham, A., Evans, D.A. et al. 2013. The international conservation importance of welsh ‘waxcap’ grasslands. Mycosphere 4: 969–984.
Janssen, J.A.M., Rodwell, J.S., García Criado, M., Gubbay, S., Haynes, T., Nieto, A., Sanders, N., Landucci, F., Loidi, J., Ssymank, A., Tahvanainen, T., Valderrabano, M., Acosta, A., Aronsson, M., Arts, G., Attorre, F., Bergmeier, E., Bijlsma, R.-J., Bioret, F., Biţă-Nicolae, C., Biurrun, I., Calix, M., Capelo, J., Čarni, A. Poulos, P., Essl, F., Gardf, Chytrý, M., Dengler, J., Dimojell, H., Gigante, D., Giusso del Galdo, G., Hájek, M., Jansen, F., Jansen, J., Kapfer, J., Mickolajczak, A., Molina, J.A., Molnár, Z., Paternoster, D., Piernik, A., Poulin, B., Renaux, B., Schaminée, J.H.J., Šumberová, K., Toivonen, H., Tonteri, T., Tsiripidis, I., Tzonev, R. and Valachovič, M. 2016. European Red List of Habitats. Part 2. Terrestrial and freshwater habitats. European Union, Luxembourg.
Jordal J B. 2011. Åtgärdsprogram för svampar i ängs- och betesmarker 2011-2015 ( In Swedish: Species Actions Program for fungi in semi-natural grasslands 2011-2015). Naturvårdsverket (Swedish Environmental Protection Agency), Stockholm.
Jordal, J.B., Evju, M., and Gaarder, G. 2016. Habitat specificity of selected grassland fungi in Norway. Agarica 37: 5-32.
Krieglsteiner, G.J. 2001. Die Grosspilze Baden-Württembergs 3.

Country occurrence

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted