Hypocreales » Cordycipitaceae


Cordyceps Fr., Observ. mycol. (Havniae) 2: 316 (cancellans) (1818)

Sordariomycetes, Hypocreomycetidae, Hypocreales, Cordycipitaceae

Index Fungorum number: IF1240; Facesoffungi number: FoF 01317; 180 morphological species (Species Fungorum 2020), 42 species with sequence data.

Parasitic on arthropods, worldwide. Sexual morph: Stromata or subiculum pallid or brightly pigmented, fleshy, stromata growing from the heads of adult Lepidoptera, usually simple, rarely branched, Stipe flexuous, white. Fertile head rounded, differentiated from stipe. Ascomata perithecial, superficial to completely immersed, ordinal in arrangement, elongate or ampulliform, with the ostioles opening on the surface of the head. Peridium comprising three layers. Asci hyaline, cylindrical, with thickened apex. Ascospores hyaline, cylindrical, multi-septate, disarticulating into part-spores or non-disarticulating, rarely possessing a thread-like structure connecting the fusiform ends. Asexual morph: Hyphomycetous. Colonies positive pale, reverse yellowish. Hyphae hyaline, narrow, septate, branched. Conidiophores verticillately or singly branched. Conidiogenous cells phialidic, solitary, verticillate, hyaline, inflated at the base, rarely cylindrical, tapering to a narrow tip, and lacking a collarette. Conidia hyaline, smooth, subglobose to ovoid (Maharachchikumbura et al. 2016)


Type species: Cordyceps militaris (L.) Fr., Observ. mycol. (Havniae) 2: 317 (cancellans) (1818)


Notes: Cordyceps was validly published by Link (1833) and given as the group name by Fries (1818) as Cordylia (Rogers 1954). Cordyceps includes about 564 species (Index Fungorum 2015) and was formally moved to Cordycipitoideae in 2007 (Sung et al. 2007). Sung et al. (2007) moved some species from Cordyceps to several genera including Ophiocordyceps (Ophiocordycipitaceae), Elaphocordyceps current name Tolypocladium (Ophiocordycipitaceae), Metacordyceps (Clavicipitaceae), Claviceps (Clavicipitaceae), Tyrannicordyceps (Clavicipitaceae), Epichloë (Clavicipitaceae), Podostroma (Hypocreaceae) and Podocrea (Hypocreaceae). Kepler et al. (2017) suppressed the names Isaria, Microhilum, Phytocordyceps and Evlachovaea in favour of Cordyceps. The genus infects insects and produces bright, stipitate, fleshy stromata, superficial to embedded perithecia, ascospores which break or do not break into part spores (Sung et al. 2007). The asexual morph of this genus produces evlachovaea-like, isaria-like, lecanicillium-like, mariannaea-like, simplicillium-like phialides or conidia (Sung et al. 2007). A specimen of Cordyceps militaris collected from China which shows the complete sexual and asexual characteristics is illustrated here (Hyde et al. 2020)


Other species:

Cordyceps pruinosa Petch

Cordyceps rosea Kobayasi & Shimizu



Fries EM. 1818 – Observationes Mycologiae. Vol. 2 (Cancellans issue). Hafniae: G. Bonnieri.

Hyde KD, Norphanphoun C, Maharachchikumbura SSN, Bhat D et al. 2020 – Refined families of Sordariomycetes. Mycosphere 11(1), 305–1059.

Kepler RM, Luangsa-Ard JJ, Hywel-Jones NL, Quandt CA et al. 2017 – A phylogenetically-based nomenclature for Cordycipitaceae (Hypocreales). IMA fungus 8(2), 335–353.

Link HF. 1833 – Handbuch zur Erkennung der nutzbarsten und am häufigsten vorkommenden Gewächse 1–536.

Maharachchikumbura SSN, Hyde KD, Jones EBG, McKenzie EHC et al. 2016–Families of Sordariomycetes. Fungal Diversity 79 (1), 1–317.

Rogers DP. 1954 – The genus Cordyceps and Fries's observationes. Mycologia 46, 248–253.

Sung GH, Hyweljones NL, Sung JM, Luangsaard JJ et al. 2007 – P hylogenetic classification of Cordyceps and the clavicipitaceous fungi. Studies in Mycology 57 (57), 5–59


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