Synonyms : Agaricus calyptriformis [sub “calyptraeformis”] Berk., Hygrophorus calyptriformis [sub “calyptraeformis”] (Berk.) Berk. & Broome, Porpolomopsis calyptriformis (Berk.) Bresinsky, Humidicutis calyptriformis (Berk.) Vizzini & Ercole
A striking agaric, with a conical pinkish cap and a whitish to pinkish stem: It is mainly present in the Atlantic (esp. UK) and Alpine domains and lives on humus, as a terricolous saprotroph. It mainly occurs in unfertilized meadows and pastures but has also been observed in other biotopes (dunes, forests, calcareous fens, heaths). It is mainly threatened by eutrophication and by cessation of grassland management.
Global distribution : Europe, Asia (Turkey, Russia, Korea, China, Japan), North America (USA), Central America (Dominican Republic).
Distribution in Europe : The species occurs from lowlands to subalpine regions (e.g. Slovenia, UK), where it has been found up to 1800m (Bresinsky 2008).
Areal diagnosis for Europe : Mainly Atlantic (esp. UK) and Alpine ; also Central European ; very rare in Sarmatic domain, Thermonemoral , Mediterranean and Steppe domains (an isolated record in Ukraine); absent from Arctic and Boreal domains.
Number of currently known sites in Europe: About 639, including 450 in UK, Also known from Asia and Noth America.
Changes in frequency : In Lithuania no records are mentioned after 1974. In Czech Republic, France, Germany and Slovakia a decrease has been noticed during the last decades. In Poland no change of frequency is mentioned. In UK an increase in the number of sites is reported.
In Europe, Hygrocybe calyptriformis is typical of waxcap grasslands, a declining habitat due to changing agricultural practices.
The species is everywhere considered rare (Boertmann 1995) and even threatened with an extinction soon; The intensification of agriculture and the widespread use of fertilizers make it an endangered species throughout Europe (Krieglsteiner, 2001).
Population Trend: Deteriorating
Trophism, hosts and substrates : The species is probably a terricolous saprotroph wich decomposes humus particles. However, observations made on species of the group of Hygrocybe conica seem to show they can develop some kind of mycorrhizal association with seed plants (Halbwachs et al. 2013). On the other hand, Boertmann (2010: 25) evokes the hypothesis of a possible commensalism between Hygrocybe species and mosses.
Vegetation : The fungus is recorded from different kinds of biotopes. Most often it was found in extensively used, unfertilized grasslands (meadows and pastures). The species also occurs in dunes, forests (dehesas), oak plantations (Ukraine), olive-tree plantation (Italy), calcareous fens, heaths and scrublands. Noteworthy is a certain preference for anthropogenic biotopes especially in UK (lawns, churchyards, cemeteries and parks).
Soil requirements : The species is rather euryoecious. It tolerates a large range of pH-values from acid to basic, of water supply from rather dry to damp, and of nitrogen content from low to moderately high. Soil types : brown soil, rendzina (Germany). Geologic substrate : limestone (e.g. Slovenia), crystalline shist (Bulgaria). The fungus avoids sandy soils and sites with a thick litter layer.
Synanthropy : The species mainly occurs in semi-natural and distinctly anthropogenic grasslands, seldom in natural biotopes (e.g. forests, dunes).
Indicator values : The fungus indicates more or less open biotopes, often rich in plant species and rather poor in nutrients.
Occurence of fruitbodies (phenology) : Bqsidiocarps are mainly produced from summer till automn(June-November), in UK still in December.
The species is mainly threatened by the intensification or the cessation of grassland management and by eutrophication of sites (e.g. due to nitrogen deposition from air pollution)
Discontinuing maintaining of grasslands, agricultural improvement, afforestation of abandoned grasslands.
Status of conservation : The species is red listed in Austria, Belgium (regional red list), Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Iberian peninsula (Spain + Portugal), Italy (preliminary list), Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland and UK. It is protected by law in Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and UK.
In UK : The pink waxcap is a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) and is included in English Nature’s Species Recovery Programme. The Action Plan aims to maintain current populations, and increase them where possible.
Hygrocybe calyptriformis is one of 33 larger fungi proposed for international protection under the Bern Convention.
Switzerland : Forbiden picking (OPN 2002)
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