There are over 680 documented species of the sac fungus genus Ophiocordyceps, and one of the best known of these is Ophiocordyceps sinensis, colloquially known as caterpillar fungus.
Year Price/kg (Yuan)
|Neighbouring China has a huge appetite for the fungus, pushing prices above $12,500 per pound (450 grams)|
|There has been a dramatic rises in Yarchagumba prices in both the national and international markets. In 2001, Dolpa harvesters sold the fungus for Rs 20-25 per piece but they received Rs 200-600 per piece in 2011, an increase of 900 to 2,300 per cent, according to the report. The annual production of Yarchagumba in the Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau is thought to be around 85-185 tonnes with a current total estimated global market value of $5-11 billion.|
Yarchagumba is under severe threat in its natural habitat due to excessive and premature harvesting to meet growing demand and price surges both in the local and global trade regimes, warns the study.