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Basidiocarps are agaricoid, up to 100 mm (4 in) tall, the cap convex at first (never conical), becoming flat when expanded, up to 75 mm (3 in) across. The cap surface is smooth, distinctly viscid when damp, bright lemon-yellow to orange-yellow (rarely orange to red). The lamellae (gills) are waxy, pale cap-coloured, and adnexed (narrowly attached to the stipe). The stipe (stem) is smooth, cylindrical or compressed and grooved, cap-coloured, and moist to somewhat viscid when damp. The spore print is white, the spores (under a microscope) smooth, inamyloid, ellipsoid, about 7.5 to 9.0 by 4.0 to 5.5 μm
In Europe, Hygrocybe chlorophana is typical of waxcap grasslands, a declining habitat due to changing agricultural practices.