The fungus forms 20–50 mm high, club-shaped and orange/red fruiting bodies, which grow out of dead underground pupae. The club is covered with the stroma, into which the actual fruit bodies, the perithecia, are inserted. The surface appears roughly punctured. The inner fungal tissue is whitish to pale orange.
The spores are smooth, hyaline, long-filiform, and often septate. They decompose to maturity in 3-7 μm × 1-1.2 μm subpores. The asci are long and cylindrical. Sometimes an anamorphic state, which is Isaria, is found. Masses of white mycelia form around the parasitised insect; however, these may not be of the same species.
Ecology and dispersal
The fungus is grown on rice. Cordyceps militaris is not to be mistaken with Ophiocordyceps sinensis, which does solely grow on insects and pupae of different large butterflies, rarely also on caterpillars. Many authors consider it quite common, spread throughout the northern hemisphere, and fruiting bodies appear in Europe from August to November.
- "GSD Species Synonymy: Cordyceps militaris (L.) Fr". Species Fungorum. CAB International. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
- Pilz des Jahres 2007: Cordyceps militaris (L.) Link, Puppenkernkeule
- Cordyceps militaris in Index Fungorum
- Media related to Cordycipitaceae at Wikimedia Commons
- Media related to Parasitic fungi at Wikimedia Commons
- Data related to Cordyceps at Wikispecies
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