Cap 2.5-7.0 cm broad, convex, to convex-umbonate, expanding to nearly plane, the disc in age slightly umbonate or depressed; margin at first incurved to inrolled, becoming decurved, then plane to raised at maturity; surface viscid when moist, smooth to occasionally wrinkled, the disc brown to olive-brown, becoming yellow-brown to apricot-brown towards the margin; context white, soft, relatively thin; odor and taste mild.
Gills decurrent, subdistant, moderately thick, waxy, at first cream, becoming yellowish to peach-colored.
Stipe 4-8 cm long, 0.5-1.2 cm thick, equal or narrowed at the base; surface at apex fibrillose, cream-yellow, sometimes pinkish to apricot; viscid-fibrillose below, pallid to colored like the cap margin; partial veil fibrillose-glutinous, leaving an evanescent slime ring high on the stipe.
Spores 7.5-10 x 4-5 µm, ellipsoid, smooth, inamyloid; spore print white.
Scattered to gregarious under pines, especially two-needle pines, in our area Bishop pine (Pinus muricata) and beach pine (Pinus contorta); fruiting from mid to late winter.
Edible, but untried locally.
Hygrophorus hypothejus is recognized by a viscid (when moist) brownish cap usually with yellowish or orange tones, cream to pale yellow decurrent gills, and a slimy lower stipe. It is common along the coast north of San Francisco fruiting under beach pine (Pinus contorta) but relatively rare in the immediate San Francisco Bay Area where Monterey pine (Pinus radiata), a three-needle pine, predominates.