Hypocreales » Cordycipitaceae


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

Hypocreomycetidae, Hypocreales, Cordycipitaceae, Cordyceps

Index Fungorum number: IF 1240; 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 rising from the heads of adult Lepidoptera, usually simple, hardly branched, Stipe flexuous, white. Fertile head curved, differentiated from stipe. Ascomata perithecial, superficial to entirely immersed, elongate or ampulliform, ordinal in arrangement, with the ostioles opening on the surface of the head. Peridium containing three layers. Asci cylindrical, hyaline, with thickened apex. Ascospores cylindrical, multi-septate, disarticulating into part-spores or non-disarticulating, hyaline, rarely owning a thread-like arrangement connecting the fusiform ends. Asexual morph: Hyphomycetous. Colonies positive pale, opposite yellowish. Hyphae thin, septate, hyaline, branched. Conidiophores verticillately or separately branched. Conidiogenous cells phialidic, solitary, verticillate, hyaline, inflated at the base, seldom cylindrical, narrowing towards the tip, lacking a collarette. Conidia smooth, hyaline, subglobose to ovoid (adapted from 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 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.



Species illustrated in this entry:

Cordyceps militaris (L.) Fr.




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

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

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

Sung GH, Hywel-Jones NL, Sung JM, Luangsa-ard JJ et al. 2007 – Phylogenetic classification of Cordyceps and the clavicipitaceous fungi. Studies in Mycology 57, 5–59




About Sordariomycetes

The webpage Sordariomycetes provides an up-to-date classification and account of all genera of the class Sordariomycetes.


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