Species Action Plans

Pink waxcap fungi


The pink waxcap's ( Hygrocybe calyptriformis ) main habitats include lawns, grassy meadows, pastures and woodland margins. It has been recorded from limestone grassland and acid grassland. Fruiting bodies, which are seldom abundant, generally appear between August and October. They have attractive pointed caps 5 -7 cm tall and a white or pinkish stem up to 10 cm tall. It is one of a group of the often-brightly coloured waxcap fungi (Hygrocybe spp.) which are typically associated with unimproved grassland and are reported to have declined across Europe.

Current status


The number of sites for this species is now known to total 500 as a result of the British Mycological Society's survey. It has been found in Scotland, Wales, Oxfordshire, North Yorkshire, Kent and Worcestershire. A large population is known from a MoD artillery range at Brecknock. Elsewhere the species is found in continental Europe, North America and Asia.

In Great Britain this species is provisionally classified as Low Risk. It receives general protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and is also on the provisional Berne List.


There are scattered records throughout Yorkshire for this species, all of them limited to unimproved grassland. The Mid Yorkshire Fungus Group is conducting a survey for this species to feed into the national database.


Outline map of Calderdale indicating the three sites where Pink Waxcap fungi can be found

At present restricted to three sites in the district, this species meets the criteria of a Calderdale Priority Species. All three sites are unimproved acid grassland.

Current factors causing loss or decline

Historic changes in the population of this species are poorly understood, but potential threats to extant sites include:

Current action


1. Policy and LegislationLead PartnerOther partners
Consider designating sites with pink waxcaps as SEGIsWYECMBC (CAFU), CMBC (DP), HSS
2. Site safeguard and managementLead PartnerOther partners
Where possible, provide mechanisms (such as relevant agri-environmental schemes) to encourage grazing or continued mowing on pink waxcap sitesFWAGDEFRA
3. Research and monitoringLead PartnerOther partners
Compile records of pink waxcap and encourage regular visits to known sites in order to determine the current status of the species at each site. An assessment of management and current threats should be made at each siteHSSMYFG, WYE
Commission research into the habitat requirements and methods of spread of this species, with a view to refining management techniques for its conservationEN-
Perform surveys on other unimproved grassland sites likely to have pink waxcapsHSSMYFG
Train / encourage naturalists to report recordsHSSMYFG
4. AdvisoryLead PartnerOther partners
Advise landowners and land managers of the presence and importance of this species, specific management for conservation and any potentially damaging actions. Landowners and managers should have access to specialist advice if neededHSSEN, DEFRA, WYE
As far as possible advise relevant agri-environment scheme project officers of the location for this species and the need to encourage appropriate grazing regimes at these sitesWYEDEFRA, EN
5. RegionalLead PartnerOther partners
6. Communication and publicityLead PartnerOther partners
Encourage mycologists to pass all records of pink meadow cap, including ecological information, to regional and national databasesHSSBMS, CMBC (CAFU), MYFG, WYE
Provide publicity to general public to encourage them to report possible sitesHSS-
Raise awareness of the importance of this speciesHSSCMBC (CAFU), ATC

Key to abbreviations
ATCAlternative Technology Centre
BMSBritish Mycological Society
CMBC (CAFU)Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council (Countryside and Forestry Unit)
CMBC (DP)Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council (Development and Policy)
DEFRADepartment of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
ENEnglish Nature
FWAGFarming and Wildlife Advisory Group
HBCHalifax Birdwatchers Club
HSSHalifax Scientific Society
MYFGMid Yorkshire Fungus Group
WYEWest Yorkshire Ecology

Links with other action plans

Unimproved Grassland

Plan coordinator: Hugh Firman, Conservation Officer

Last Updated: 30/09/2016