Ophiocordyceps sinensis: The Medicinal Caterpillar Mushroom

  • Ranjit Singh
  • P. S. Negi
  • Sanjai K. Dwivedi


Ophiocordyceps sinensis, previously known as Cordyceps sinensis, popularly called as caterpillar mushroom is a non-toxic, medicinal fungus found growing in the Himalayan hills in India, Nepal, China and Tibet. In higher hills of Uttarakhand (India), this fungus is locally known as yarsha gamboo or kira ghas, since it parasitizes on the lepidopteran insect larvae of the caterpillar Thitarodes (Hepialus) armoricanus Oberthur of family Hepialidae under the soil (Huang 1999). The grasslands are habitat for Thitarodes armoricanus and hence for Ophiocordyceps sinensis because the former is the host insect for the latter in alpine meadows just above the tree line. Its local name in Uttarakhand is yarsha gamboo which is derived from yartsa gunbu, a Tibetan name meaning summer grass winter worm.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ranjit Singh
    • 1
  • P. S. Negi
    • 1
  • Sanjai K. Dwivedi
    • 1
  1. 1.Defence Institute of Bio-Energy Research, DRDOHaldwaniIndia

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