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The splitting of Hygrocybe

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Omphalina. 5(1): 2-6.


The genus Hygrocybe probably contains more pretty mushrooms than any other. They provide an unrivalled bright, crisp and colourful delight to the eye—hands down, a photographer's favourite, drawing amateur and professional alike with their beauty. To the inquisitive they also provide an interesting subject for investigation, because, as mentioned in a past OMPHALINA article, how they make their living has not been elucidated. It seems that they are not saprobes (decayers of organic material), as had long been thought, but what type of partnerships they have established, and with whom, remains unclear. Recently, with the help of many collaborators, I completed a major study of the phylogeny of the Hygrophoraceae. For many amateur as well as some professional mycologists the greatest changes are in several groups of species previously classified in the genus Hygrocybe. All but one of these evolutionary branches had previously been named as separate genera, so most are not new. Genera made by splitting groups from existing genera, leaving some species behind in the original genus, are called segregate genera. We were able to confirm (in many cases, reconfirm) the phylogenetic basis for these groupings, and to define their limits more accurately than has been the case before. Thus, now these groupings have a solid and well-defined basis, and should find widespread acceptance. In this article I review the changes to the genus Hygrocybe, as they apply to its species identified in Newfoundland and Labrador.


Lodge, D. Jean. 2014. The splitting of Hygrocybe. Omphalina. 5(1): 2-6.

Last updated on: January 24, 2014