Cap 6-14 cm broad, convex, expanding to plano-convex; margin at first inrolled, finely pubescent, becoming decurved to slightly raised at maturity; surface viscid when moist, glabrous, pinkish-salmon to pinkish-buff at the disc, paler at the margin; context firm, up to 4.0 cm thick at the disc, whitish, tinged pink especially near the cuticle, sometimes yellowing when bruised; odor faint, pungent; taste mild, of "mushrooms."
Gills subdecurrent, becoming adnate in age, close to subdistant, edges sharp, otherwise thick, intervenose, pinkish-cream; lamellulae 3-4 seried.
Stipe 12-15 cm long, 1.5-2.0 cm thick, solid, fleshy, equal except for a pointed base, surface of apex whitish, squamulose, the lower portion dry to subviscid, fibrillose-striate, cream-colored, often flushed pink, yellowing where bruised, the base chrome-yellow; partial veil absent.
Spores 7.5-10.5 x 5.0-6.0 µm, ellipsoid to tear-shaped, smooth, thin-walled, hilar appendage inconspicuous, inamyloid; spore print white.
Solitary to scattered under conifers, e.g. Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) and coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens); fruiting from early to mid-winter; fairly common along the coast from Mendocino northward.
Edible, but sometimes of poor quality.
A beautiful mushroom, this Hygrophorus is recognized by a robust stature, pinkish, viscid cap, pinkish-tinged adnate to subdecurrent gills, and stipe with a bright yellow base. In a monograph of California Hygrophorus, Largent calls our variety Hygrophorus pudorinus var. fragrans f. fragrans. He includes two additional forms distinguished primarily by color and habitat. Hygrophorus pudorinus var. fragrans f. pallidus has a whitish cap and gills and occurs in the red fir zone of the Sierra, while Hygrophorus pudorinus var. pudorinus f. pudorinus has a pinkish-buff cap, apical stipe scales that redden with age or drying, and sometimes a yellow stipe base.