Hygrocybe punicea  (Fr.) P. Kumm. (1871) sensu lato  *All collections from N. California

Quick review of the literature suggests that there is a general discordance about the delimitation of Hygrocybe punicea, Hygrocybe splendidissima and other large, scarlet red members of Hygrocybe. Based on current descriptions and re-descriptions, no clear concept can emerge that separates these species based on commonly agreed and established characters. Here I have included all photographs of punicea-like collections from Northern California. There is not much microscopy can achieve in this group either. In addition, based on Hessler & Smith's assessment it appears that Hygrocybe coccinea is far from common, or even doubtful in North America, therefore some collections that might have resembled it are rolled under punicea sensu lato. My observations show that members of punicea when young are predominantly red and can strongly resemble the more compact fruitbodies of Hygrocybe coccinea. Clearly this group needs a fresh start in North America and a new critical study based on modern methods.