Identification of Cordyceps
Cordyceps 冬虫夏草 has to be stressed here that it is a composite consisting of the stromata of the fungus. It is a parasite of the larva in some species of insects (Fam. Hepialidae).
Cordyceps resembles a silkworm, 3-5cm long, and 3-8mm in diameter. Externally it is deep yellow to yellowish brown, with 20-60 annulations and those near the head are relatively fine. There are 8 pairs of feet (3 pairs near the head, 4 pairs in the middle and 1 pair near the tail), only the 4 pairs of feet in the middle are conspicuous. The head is reddish-brown and the tail looks like the tail of a silkworm.Its texture is fragile, easily broken, and the cross section is slightly even, yellowish-white with dark brown V-shaped clefts.
The stroma is deep brown to brown, thin and cylindrical, 4-7cm long,3mm in diameter, with fine longitudinal wrinkles and the upper part is slightly swollen above. The texture is soft and the cross section has whitish fibers.
Cordyceps has a fishy odor (like that of straw mushroom) and slightly bitter taste.
Sichuan Cordyceps:It is smaller, irregular in size with yellowish-brown color and its stroma is fairly long.
Qinghai Cordyceps:It is thicker with bright gold color and the stroma is fairly shorter.
Tibet Cordyceps:It is thicker with bright gold color and the stroma is short.
The best quality:Cordyceps has a full complete body with bright gold color, and internally it is white.The stroma is short.