Caterpillar fungus, known in China as “worm grass,” is a valuable material used in Traditional Chinese medicine that is only found in high-altitude regions, especially the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Caterpillar fungus was once literally worth more than its weight in gold in China, but over the past three years, prices have fallen by half…Full Article Aug 2016

Key Points

  • In China, caterpillar ‘worm grass’ fungus is primarily harvested in the environs of Lhasa from May to August.
  • From 1995 to 2013, the price of caterpillar ‘worm grass’ fungus increased from CNY 1,000 (~US$150) per kg to CNY 300,000 [~US$37,228] per kg.

ChinaAg Comment

  • Caterpillar ‘worm grass’ fungus (Ophiocordyceps sinensis) is harvested during the summer months once the fungus as breached the soil and can be found among the grasslands of the Tibetan plateu. The fungus must be harvested and sold with the host (dead) caterpillar attached in order to prove its authenticity.  In 2013 and 2014, on the back of a price spike, intensive harvesting of the fungus reportedly damaged its natural environment and production cycle.

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