Members of this genus are popularly known as ā€¯vegetable caterpillarsā€¯ due to their parasitic habit on insect larvae, including some caterpillar species. Fruiting bodies are mostly club-shaped, broad or elongate, depending on the species. They are always derived from an insect host, although the host may be buried in soil. Fruiting bodies are usually dark coloured and camouflaged against the forest floor, with an aerial fertile region comprising aggregated, tiny, flask-shaped structures, within which are formed elongate asci, each containing 8 ascospores. The club may be simple or occasionally branched. Typically only found in native forests. In Asia, species of Cordyceps are of commercial importance for herbal/medicinal use.


NZFungi Entry

Cordyceps robertsii
(=Ophiocordyceps robertsii)

This is the largest and most readily seen of about 15 species of Cordyceps recorded in New Zealand. It was also the first New Zealand fungus to be described as new, in 1836. It parasitizes burrow-dwelling caterpillars of forest-inhabiting species