Hygrocybe flavifolia, the aptly named Golden-gilled Waxy Cap, boasts a glossy sheen and ranges in color from the bright yellow of a midday sun to the deep golden hue of a late summer afternoon. Hygrocybe flavifolia is on the FUNDIS West Coast Rare Fungi Challenge list, and this stunning sunny specimen was discovered earlier this month by Chris Dietel (iNat ID: 201535167) on his property in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.

⛰️Chris is retired and has been interested in identifying and photographing fungi and myxomycetes for the last five years. He mostly concentrates his efforts in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

🌲Chris tells the story of his encounter with the Golden-gilled Waxy Cap here: “I spotted a solitary Hygrocybe flavifolia last year [March 2023] under Bay and Douglas fir in my neighborhood above Los Gatos [elevation 1700 feet], so I was keeping a keen eye for them this year. Interestingly, I found three fruitbodies this month in a different location roughly 100 meters away from last year’s find.”

🗺️ Initially discovered in 1942, there are now only 56 observations of Hygrocybe flavifolia on iNaturalist. While coastal California appears to be a haven for Hygrocybe flavifolia, a lone sighting in Olympia, Washington hints at its broader geographic range.

💡This natural-LED, illuminating the forest floor, is facing growing threats from widespread logging and drought, exacerbated by climate change. Classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List, the need to document and understand Hygrocybe flavifolia is of the utmost importance.

🍄 The story of this particular Golden Gill Waxy Cap specimen, told by Chris, highlights the critical role of micro-ecosystems in supporting the growth and development of rare fungi. If you ever find a rare fungal species, please be like Chris and note the geolocation to revisit next year! Each collection expands the FUNDIS database, offering a more comprehensive picture of the intricate world thriving beneath our feet.

Our work in California is funded by the California Institute for Biodiversity. Find them at CalAlive.org!


Our work on the Golden Gilled Waxy Cap is funded by the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund.                  


How FunDiS Sequencing Is Changing Taxonomy: Fungal Adventures in Washington State

Bill Sheehan’s vision of bringing sequencing to dedicated addicts of the world of fungi taxonomy will have lasting impacts. FunDiS’ influence on the South Sound Mushroom Club (SSMC) near Puget Sound in Washington has been powerful, not just to our small group, but also to the scientific community -- especially for fungal taxonomy across the world.

Protecting Fungal Biodiversity Critical to Life on Earth

We are living in a moment of overlapping ecological crises. One of those crises is the growing list of extinct species, disappearing at a rate thousands of times higher than normal. That includes animals, plants, and of course, fungi. But there’s something unique about the problem when it comes to fungi: being one of the least studied kingdoms of life, we don’t even know what we’re losing.

How are the West Coast Challenge species selected?

The West Coast Rare Fungi Challenge put the spotlight on ten species during its pilot period. Seven out of ten species were observed during the six month pilot period, from October 2020 to the end of March 2021. Knowing that there are thousands of mushroom species on the west coast from Alaska to California, you may wonder, "why were these ten chosen"?

My FunDiS Story

I’ve been a mushroom enthusiast for nearly 40 years, at first concentrating on edible types, but I eventually came to realize that all mushrooms are interesting. In 2006 I discovered mushroom discussion on the internet and started making posts to Mushroom Observer with my first digital camera. I have submitted fungal collections to researchers, both professional and advanced-amateur. 


Documenting macrofungi on a remote ocean island - The California Channel Islands FunDiS Project

Yes, it is an “8-headed Amanita ocreata,” measuring 11 cm across and 9.5 cm tall. I sectioned it to find at least eight caps inside one volva. An Amanita like this has never been reported before. Mycologist Rod Tulloss, who specializes in Amanita, commented, “I can’t remember anything like it.” One suggestion is that at least eight primordia were very crowded together and developed to share a volval sac. Who knows?


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Why This Blog?

Deep Funga Blog is for longer articles than fit in the bimonthly eNewsletter. We seek postings that are helpful and/or interesting to the FunDiS community.  Share your feedback in comments below each article (sign in first) or on the blog post on FunDiS's Facebook Discussion Group.

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About Fungal Diversity Survey

FunDiS is dedicated to a world in which the fungal kingdom is fully documented, understood, appreciated and protected.

Fungal Diversity Survey
10385 Green Meadow Rd
Sebastopol, CA 95472