Blackening Wax Cap (Hygrocybe nigrescens)

A conical shaped toadstall emerging from grass displaying a distinctly shining surface to the cap indicates a wax cap or Hygrocybe species.

This one, found up on the Purbeck Ridge in early autumn, is indeed a wax cap. It starts off with this beautiful maroon coloured cap but it quickly ages and becomes black and so has earned itself the common name of the Blackening Wax Cap.

No wax cap is particularly common which always makes finding one a bit special and this one is described in my guide as being 'occassional'. There were only a couple appearing in the rough pasture up on the ridge which would seem to be the ideal sort of place to find them. I have also seen the in Kent, above the white cliffs but that doesn't count in the nature of Dorset!

Supposedly edible but only if picked when newly emerging but surely best left alone to display their early beauty to others?

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