Species of the Month - October 2013

Ballerina Waxcap

Hygrocybe calyptriformis

Parrot Waxcap was our Species of last Month and we got loads of sightings, so this month's one is a bit more difficult.  The Ballerina Waxcap is the queen of the waxcaps and is instantly identifiable due to its unique pink colour.  I've only seen it twice in Argyll so far, once in Duror cemetery on last year's Waxcap Wander, and more recently on Lismore.  It would be great to get some more records.

Hygrocybe calyptriformis

Above, the first one I ever saw, on Skye in 2004.

Right: The first LNHG record, found and photographed by Cynthia Grindley in Duror cemetery last year

  Hygrocybe calyptriformis

The Ballerina Waxcap has a conical cap with flared out edges like a ballerina's skirt.  The cap can be slightly greasy or dry.  The gills are generally the same colour as the cap, or paler, and the stem is pure white.  In David Boertmann's Waxcaps book it is described as "generally rare and occurring only locally", but is probably more widespread in Britain than elsewhere in Europe.  Like most waxcaps it requires unfertilised grassland.

Hygrocybe calyptriformis   Hygrocybe calyptriformis

Hygrocybe calyptriformis

The gills are free from the stem or only narrowly attached, as shown in this specimen cut in half.

Hygrocybe calyptriformis


Hygrocybe calyptriformis

Young and old ballerinas photographed by Jan Hamilton in Duror cemetery on last year's Waxcap Wander.

There is a rare variety of this waxcap which is pure white, but it doesn't seem to have any British records, so if anyone finds one of those it would be rather good.

Alan Sliverside's page has more info on the Ballerina Waxcap. 


Please send in your Ballerina Waxcap sightings using the form below, or email sightings@lnhg.org.uk with the details if you prefer.  If you are not sure of the identity of your waxcap, please send a photo to sightings@lnhg.org.uk, or put one on the LORN forum and let me know it is there.

Date of sighting 
Grid reference 
Number seen 
Name of finder 
Your name (if different) 
Email (not needed if I already know it!) 
Any other details, e.g habitat   


By filling in this form you agree that the information contained in this form may be collated and disseminated manually or electronically for environmental decision-making, education, research and other public benefit uses in accordance with the LNHG data access policy.  Your email address will not form part of the record and will not be passed on to anyone.

Carl Farmer
G Biological Records Manager

Sightings so far

11 Oct - Found in 3 places during our field trip at Ellenabeich, Terry was first to spot one.

26 Oct - Several found by Kiki MacColl at Achinduin, Lismore


Note you can still send in records for past species of the month.  Here is the list of species we've had so far:

Sep 2013 - Parrot Waxcap
Aug 2013 - Vapourer Moth

Jul 2013 - Emerald Damselfly
Jun 2013 - Globe Flower
May 2013 - Early Purple Orchid
Apr 2013 - Peacock Butterfly
Mar 2013 - Oak Beauty
Feb 2013 - Coral Lungwort

Jan 2013 - Willow Jelly Button & Birch Jelly Button
Dec 2012 - Dice Lichen
Nov 2012 - Feathered Thorn
Oct 2012 - Dryad's Saddle
Sep 2012 - Tawny Grisette
Aug 2012 - Forest Bug
Jul 2012 - Grayling
Jun 2012 - Greater and Lesser Butterfly Orchids
May 2012 - Small Copper
Apr 2012 - Green Tiger Beetle
Mar 2012 - March Moth
Feb 2012 - Barren Strawberry
Jan 2012 - Brambling
Dec 2011 - Red Squirrel
Nov 2011 - Hazel Gloves
Oct 2011 - Small Tortoiseshell
Sep 2011 - Fly Agaric
Aug 2011 - Grass of Parnassus
Jul 2011 - Golden-ringed Dragonfly
Jun 2011 - 7-spot Ladybird
May 2011 - Green Hairstreak
Apr 2011 - Townhall Clock

Mar 2011 - Frogspawn

Next month's page
Current month's page

All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer except where stated