Scarlet Caterpillarclub - Cordyceps militaris

Description

The fruitbody is 0.5 to 4 cm long and 2 to 4 mm in diameter, the fertile head is bright orange or scarlet-orange; club-shaped and slightly swollen; rarely branching; granular, covered in raised pores. The base is attached to a dead insect pupa below the soil surface. The infertile stem is 1 to 3 cm long and 1 to 1.5 mm in diameter, usually somewhat wavy; paler orange than the fertile head.

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

Unless identified by a recognised expert, a photo is required. If the photo doesn't show the key ID features then in the comments box describe the size and identifying characters you have observed.

Habitat

In grassland or on mossy woodland edges, always attached to a moth pupa (or exceptionally to a larva) below the ground.

When to see it

Summer and autumn.

Life History

Always attached to a moth pupa (or exceptionally to a larva) below the ground.

UK Status

An infrequent find in Britain, it is quite likely that Cordyceps militaris is more common than it seems. Despite its bright colouring, Scarlet Caterpillarclub is but difficult to spot, because the clubs are usually much shorter than the grass or moss among which they are growing.

VC55 Status

Occasional in Leicestershire and Rutland.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map

MAP KEY:

Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map