Crimson waxcap, Scarlet waxy cap

Hygrocybe punicea


Огнена влажница, Голема влажница



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Not evaluated Data deficient Least concern Near threatened Vulnerable ENDANGERED Critically endangered Extinct in the wild Extinct
Assessment info
Habitat and Ecology
Use and Trade
Conservation Actions


Scientific name

Hygrocybe punicea


(Fr.) P. Kumm.


 Agaricus puniceus Fr.

Assessment info

IUCN Red List Category and Criteria

EN – Endangered C2a(i)

Date assessed

November 2020


Tofilovska, S.


Kost, G.


Karadelev, M.

Rusevska, K.


Miskovic, M.


Hygrocybe punicea is found in semi-natural grassland areas in mossy or low vegetation cover, at nutrient poor and acidic soil. It is an extremely rare species registered at only two sites in the country. The probable total number of sites is guesstimated at ca. 20 sites, while the number of mature individuals is estimated at ca. 400 with a few individuals per subpopulation. The population of Hygrocybe punicea is continuously declining. The suitable habitat types in the country are decreasing in area and quality and are assessed to have moderate to high threat intensity. The species is categorized as endangered under criteria C2a(i).


Current population trend



Hygrocybe punicea is an extremely rare species in the country. According to the instructions for estimation of mature individuals provided by Dahlberg and Mueller (2011), an estimate can be made of ca. 400 based on the probable total number of sites in the country (ca. 20), the estimated number of functional individuals at each locality (estimated to be two) and based on the template of how many mature individuals each reproducing genotype may give rise to (the template used ten). Population trend is estimated to be continuously decreasing in the country, as well as in global view, due to the loss of appropriate habitats.

Habitat and Ecology



Habitat and Ecology

Hygrocybe punicea occurs in semi-natural grassland areas in mossy or low vegetation cover, at nutrient poor and acidic soil. Most appropriate habitat are the mesic meadows exposed to anthropogenic intervention, as regular grazing by livestock or hand mown. Generally Hygrocybe species are thought as saprobionts and only recently a suggestion had been given that they might be mycorrhizal or endophytes (Halbwachs et al. 2013, Halbwachs et al. 2018). The species usually produce sporocarps from late summer to autumn in groups or solitary.

It is an extremely rare species registered at only two sites in the country, in mountains Bistra and Vodno, at elevation between 600–1300 m a.s.l.. In the NP Mavrovo the site is found in the zone for sustainable use. The species has well-known ecology, but it has not been recorded frequently in the past. Therefore, based on availability of appropriate habitat the total number of sites is guesstimated to be up to 10 times higher than the current number.

Use and trade

Use and trade

It is an edible species, but most probably is omitted by mushroom pickers and it is not part of the market trade centres in the country.



The suitable habitats of the species, the mesic and wet grasslands, are estimated to be under moderate to high threat intensity due to overgrowth, abandonment of traditional practices or succession according to the last Biodiversity Action Plan (2018). This is in accordance to the state at global level where is considered that more than 90% of semi-natural grasslands have been lost in Europe over the last century due to management intensification, land use conversion or abandonment (Mešić 2019, EEA Report 3/2016).

Conservation actions

Conservation actions

Conservation needed: The known sites should be protected and ensure that suitable conditions are maintained by appropriate management practices. A conservation plan should be provided for preservation of the semi-natural grasslands in the country and maybe propose a protected grassland areas to be properly maintained by livestock grazing and hand mowing, as a means to preserve biodiversity.

Research needed: Regular monitoring on an annual bases at the established sites, coupled with field research at possible sites in order to explore more the distribution and dynamic of occurrence of the species. There is a necessity of elaboration of a habitat map in the country.



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