Botanical NameCordyceps militaris

Common Name:

  • English: 
  • Also, known as: Vegetable caterpillar, Chinese caterpillar fungus, Yartsa gunbu, Dong Chong xia cao, and Semitake, Jin Chong Cao,  Bailing, Caterpillar Fungus, Caterpillar Mushroom, Cs-4, Champignon Chenille, Chinese Caterpillar Fungus, Chinese Cordyceps Fungus, Cordyceps sinensis, Dong Chong Xia Cao, Dong Chong Zia Cao, Hsia Ts'Ao Tung Ch'Ung, Hirsutella sinensis, Jinshuibao Jiaonang, Jinshuibao Pian, Ophiocordyceps sinensis, Tochukaso, Vegetable Caterpillar

Part Used: Fungus

Origin: China                                                                 

General Information:

Cordyceps militaris has been described as a medicine in old Chinese medical books and Tibetan medicine. It is a rare combination of a caterpillar and a fungus and found at altitudes above 5000m in Sikkim.Cordyceps sinensis is a fungus traditionally grown on the bodies of caterpillars and just one species in a genus of hundreds. All species are parasites. This species is found only on the Tibetan Plateau. Other Cordyceps species grow all over the world, mainly in Asia in humid tropical forests. The name cordyceps comes from Latin words meaning club and head.

The fungus is parasitic in nature. The base of the mushroom first originates from an insect larval host and ends at the club-like cap, including the stipe and stroma. The stroma is the upper fungal part and is dark brown or black, but can be a yellow color when fresh, and longer than the caterpillar itself, usually. It grows singly from the larval head, and is clavate, sub lanceolate or fusiform, and distinct from the stipe. The stipe is slender, glabrous, and longitudinally furrowed or ridged. The immature larvae (host) on which cordyceps grows usually lies about 4-10 cm below the surface of the ground. 


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