The diverse habitats of Hygrocybe – peeking into an enigmatic lifestyle
biotrophy, Distribution, ecozones, grassland, Mosses, Soil, trophic ecology, waxcaps, woodland
The genus Hygrocybe (Fr.) P. Kumm. is globally distributed. Certain taxa occur on different continents, even in the northern and the southern hemisphere. In Europe grassland is the preferred habitat. The trophic ecology is still unclear. In this review studies and internet sources of about 65 locations distributed from high to low latitudes across all continents in which 16 Hygrocybe species (typically found in Europe) occur have been analysed with regard to habitat types, vegetation and soil properties. The analysis shows that several of the selected Hygrocybe species can cope with a very wide range of habitats. They appear to prefer soils with low fertility, grassland over forests and temperate/boreal climates. Most significantly, waxcaps are found in forest habitats in the absence of grasses, and in grasslands where woody hosts are absent. Mosses are not obligately associated. Their host associations are extremely flexible. A biotrophic lifestyle should be considered.