Entomophagous fungi of Tibet: where no arthropod is safe!
The Tibetan plateau is the one of the most landlocked regions of the
world with four of the world's highest mountains straddling its borders.
In other words, it is the roof of the roof of the world. Do you know of
entomophagous fungus, Cordyceps sinensis? It's actually a form of
fungus which grows naturally on the backs of caterpillars found only in
southwestern China, Nepal and Tibet, in locations over 3,500 meters. Tradition
says that in winter it might be an insect and metamorphose into grass in
summer. This "grass" actually is a parasitic fungus, which invades
the body of caterpillars and eats their soft tissue. The "grass"
is part of the fruit body of the mushroom. Both the parasitic grass parts
and their hosts are used as herbs. I visited Lhasa city this summer vacation,
and I took pictures of the entomophagous fungi of Tibet. What a fantastic
shape!! According to the local people, this herb is supposed to be good
for everything. The story may or may not be true, but it sounds true.