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Scarlet Caterpillarclub

Edible Edible
Autumn Autumn
Summer Summer
Winter Winter

The commonest Cordyceps species growing in the UK although being small can make it hard to find.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Scarlet Caterpillarclub (EN), Pastwn Coch y Lindys (CY), Maczużnik Bojowy (PL), Vörös Rovarrontógomba (HU)
Scientific Name Cordyceps militaris
Season Start Aug
Season End Nov
Average Mushroom height (CM) 3-5
Average Cap width (CM) 0.3-0.5
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Fruiting Body

3-5cm long, 3-5mm wide. The slightly swollen bright orange to scarlet/orange fruit body is covered in raised pores.


Under the fruiting body is a thinner, pale stem leading down to the buried pupae or larvae.

Bulbous Base

It does not have a bulbous base but is attached to a butterfly or moth larva or pupa which can appear bulbous or large if the mushroom is unearthed.


In grassland or woodland edges.

Possible Confusion

Can look similar to some Clavaria species but these grow in groups rather than the normally single Scarlet Caterpillarclub.

Spore Print

White. It has barrel shaped spores that first appear joined like a string of sausages.

Taste / Smell

Earthy, nutty


Fairly common.

Other Facts

The Scarlet Caterpillarclub takes over a butterfly or moth larvae or pupae and grows from inside the larva, filling it with mycelium.


1 comment for Scarlet Caterpillarclub

  1. Dirk Meyers says:

    Looking forward to working with your products. Right now I have plenty of Chaga but am excited to grow cordyceps.
    We are about 1year into growing different mushrooms and making tinctures.

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