• Proposed
  • Under Assessment
  • Preliminary Assessed
  • VUAssessed
  • 5Published

Hygrocybe colemanniana (A. Bloxam) P.D. Orton & Watling

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Scientific name
Hygrocybe colemanniana
(A. Bloxam) P.D. Orton & Watling
Common names
Toasted Waxcap
Smeđa vlažnica
Bruine wasplaat
voskovka Colemannova
brun engvokssopp
Dattelbrauner Ellerling
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Preliminary Category
VU A2c+3c+4c
Proposed by
Armin Mešić
Armin Mešić
Comments etc.
Anders Dahlberg, Daniel Dvořák, John Bjarne Jordal, Irmgard Krisai-Greilhuber, Wim A. Ozinga, Irja Saar

Assessment Notes

R-L categories correct, but text here does not match final assessment. Updated version will be published in IUCN´s Red List June or Nov 2019.


Cuphophyllus colemannianus is a characteristic species of seminatural grasslands that are traditionally managed by grazing or hand mowing for a long period of time. These grasslands are characterized by rich and diverse mycobiota including many rare and endangered fungal species, mostly belonging to Clavariaceae, Hygrocybe s. l., Entoloma, Geoglossaceae, and Dermoloma. According to present knowledge the species is distributed throughout most of Europe and in Eastern Russia. Its suitable habitats in Europe are increasingly threatened by the abandonment of traditional land use, intensification of farming practices, eutrophication and use of fertilizers and/or pesticides. The inferred population size of this species exceeds 20,000 mature individuals, therefore criterion A is applicable. The species is assessed Vulnerable based on an estimated reduction in its population size of at least 30% over 30 years (past, ongoing and future). In the near future, habitat degradation and loss could increase and lead to a reduction of its population up to 50% over three generations (50 years). This meets the threshold for VU A2c+3c+4c.

Taxonomic notes

According to Lodge & al. (2013) H. colemanniana belongs to the genus Cuphophyllus and the correct name for this taxon is Cuphophyllus colemannianus (A. Bloxam) Ricken.

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

Geographic range

It is widespread species in Europe, present in most countries. According to Kovalenko (1989) it is also distributed in the Asian part of Russia (Primorsky Krai, Far East region). This Asian collection should be checked by molecular and morphological methods to find out whether it belongs to the same biological species as in Europe.

Population and Trends

Areas with extensively managed grassland habitats have been decreasing during recent decades throughout Europe. Agricultural intensification, grassland conversion, and land abandonment are leading to habitat loss and causing a decline of grassland biodiversity. Almost half (49%) of the grassland habitats assessed under the EU Habitats Directive are in “unfavourable-bad” condition (EEA 2016). The European Red List of Habitats (Janssen et al. 2016) listed 26 grassland habitat types as threatened (categories VU, EN, CR) in EU28+ countries. The population size of Cuphophyllus colemannianus probably exceeds 20,000 mature individuals. The population is decreasing due to the abandonment of traditional small scale farming and extensive grassland management (including grazing and/or regular hand mowing). The projected decrease is at least 30% over 30 years (past, ongoing and future) but may actually be even higher, up to 50% over three generations (50 years; e.g. 1980-2030). The species is included in most national fungal Red Lists in Europe (e.g. Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, The Netherlands) where assessments have been made.

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology

Cuphophyllus colemannianus mostly occurs in seminatural, nutrient poor, extensively managed grasslands, often collectivelly called Waxcap or CHEGD grasslands. It is only rarely found in fixed dunes or forests. Most of its habitats are characterized by calcareous or basic soil. Suitable grasslands are those extensively grazed (by cattle, horses, sheep, deer) or regularly hand mowed, without recent fertilizer and pesticide application. It occurs in grasslands characterized by rich and diverse mycobiota together with many rare and endangered fungal species.
For a long time members of the genus Hygrocybe s. l. were considered to be saprotrophs. However, Halbwachs et al. (2018) analysed stable isotopes in fruitbodies of different Hygrocybe species and suggested that these fungi are biotrophic endophytes or possibly mycorrhizal.

Temperate Grassland


The area under the seminatural grasslands is continuously declining throughout most of Europe. Suitable habitats for C. colemannianus depend on small scale, low intensity farming which has become increasingly rare in the last few decades. The main threats are abandonment of traditional land use, intensification of farming practices, eutrophication and increased use of fertilizers and/or pesticides. Over the last century, more than 90 % of semi-natural grasslands have been lost due to management intensification or abandonment in most European countries (EEA Report 3/2016). Just about half of grassland habitats in Europe are threatened to some degree including three critically endangered and nine endangered grassland types (Janssen et al. 2016). However, there are certain regional differences. Concentration of extensive grazing is highest in Scotland, northern Scandinavia, the Baltic countries, mountainous regions in Slovakia, Austria, France and Italy, the whole of Portugal and large parts of Spain and Romania. Between 2007 and 2010, a massive decrease of permanent grassland area have been reported (EC 2012) in Austria (-291.000 ha), Spain (-272.000 ha), Lithuania (-213.000 ha) and Germany (-184.000 ha).

Housing & urban areasAgro-industry grazing, ranching or farming

Conservation Actions

Site protection and active management of habitats are needed for conservation of C. colemannianus. Grassland sites hosting high diversity of CHEGD fungal species (Clavariaceae, Hygrocybe, Entoloma, Geoglossaceae, and Dermoloma) should be chosen for protection. Some extensively managed grasslands are situated within national parks, nature reserves or other protected areas. Additionally, in these areas the grassland management is not always adequate for the protection of valuable grassland mycobiota. Appropriate management of habitats should be based on traditional methods including extensive grazing (by cattle, horses, sheep, etc.) or regular hand mowing (before the fruiting season) followed by sward removal.

Site/area protectionResource & habitat protection

Research needed

One occurrence of this species in Canada is reported in GBIF. This collection should be checked by molecular and morphological methods if possible. For now, the species is treated as distributed only in Eurasia.


Use and Trade

Edible species.

Food - human


Boertmann D (2010). The genus Hygrocybe. Fungi of Northern Europe 1. 2nd revised edition. Danish Mycological Society, Copenhagen.

Dahlberg A., Mueller G. M. (2011) Applying IUCN red-listing criteria for assessing and reporting on the conservation status of fungal species. Fungal Ecology 4: 147–162.

EC (2012) Rural development in the European Union — Statistical and economic information — 2012 (http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/statistics/ruraldevelopment/2012/)

EEA (2016) Mapping and assessing the condition of Europe’s ecosystems: progress and challenges. EEA Report 3/2016. European Environment Agency, Copenhagen.

European Environment Agency (2015). State of nature in the EU. Technical report No 2/2015. European Environment Agency, Copenhagen.

Griffith GW, Gamarra JGP, Holden EM, Mitchel D, Graham A, Evans DA, Evans SE, Aron C, Noordeloos ME, Kirk PM, Smith SLN, Woods RG, Hale AD, Easton GL, Ratkowsky DA, Stevens DP, Halbwachs H (2013) The international conservation importance of Welsh „waxcap‟ grasslands. Mycosphere 4(5): 969–984. https://doi.org/10.5943/mycosphere/4/5/10

Halbwachs H, Easton GL, Bol R, Hobbie EA, Garnett MH, Peršoh D, Dixon L, Ostle N, Karasch P, Griffith GW (2018). Isotopic evidence of biotrophy and unusual nitrogen nutrition in soil-dwelling Hygrophoraceae. Environmental Microbiology 20(10):3573-3588. https://doi.org/10.1111/1462-2920.14327

Halbwachs H, Karasch P, Griffith GW (2013) The diverse habitats of Hygrocybe – peeking into an enigmatic lifestyle. Mycosphere 4(4): 773–792. https://doi.org/10.5943/mycosphere/4/4/14

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., Chytrý M., Dengler J., Dimopoulos P., Essl F., Gardfjell 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., Valachovič M. (2016). European Red List of habitats. Part 2. Terrestrial and freshwater habitats. European Union, Luxembourg.

Kovalenko AE (1989) Definitorium fungorum URSS. Ordo Hygrophorales. Nauka 37, Leningrad.

Lodge DJ, Padamsee M, Matheny PB, Aime MC, Cantrell SA, Boertmann D, Kovalenko A, Vizzini A, Dentinger BTM, Kirk PM, Ainsworth AM, Moncalvo J-M, Vilgalys R, Larsson E, Lücking R, Griffith GW, Smith ME, Norvell LL, Desjardin DE, Redhead SA, Ovrebo CL, Lickey EB, Ercole E, Hughes KW, Courtecuisse R, Young A, Binder M, Minnis AM, Lindner DL, Ortiz-Santana B, Haight J, Læssøe T, Baroni TJ, Geml J, Hattori T (2013). Molecular phylogeny, morphology, pigment chemistry and ecology in Hygrophoraceae (Agaricales). Fungal Diversity 64:1-99. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13225-013-0259-0

Rounsevell M., Fischer M., Torre-Marin Rando A, Mader A. (eds.) (2018). The IPBES regional assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services for Europe and Central Asia. Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Bonn, Germany. 892 pp.

Known distribution - countries

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted