Wax Caps: Camarophyllus Group

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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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The best-known edible wax cap is probably Hygrophorus pratensis, the meadow wax cap. Typical specimens have a light (yellow to tawny) cap (hence the vernacular American name, buff cap), which is dry, not waxy or slimy; a white stem; and white gills which are only moderately waxy.

H. niveus, the snowy wax cap, a pure white species as its names indicate, occurs in both Europe and N. America. It is considered by many authorities to be the best to eat in the genus, despite its relatively small size. McIlvaine (1902) recalled it with particular affection:

In the West Virginia mountains, along grass-grown road-sides, their purity and exquisite perfume attracted me in 1881. I have them and a few others to thank for seducing me into becoming a mycophagist.