(English) Rare Yarchagumba may extinct, warn botanists

Mountain people collecting Yarchagumba. Image credit to ekantipur
Mountain people collecting Yarchagumba. Image credit to ekantipur

KATHMANDU, Nepal–Yarchagumba (Cordyceps sinensis) a combination of one of Nepal’s most famous flora and fauna may see extinction within five years if immediate steps are not taken for its conservation, Botanists have warned
A joint study by the Tribhuvan University (TU) and the Kyushu University (KU) of Japan has showed that yarchagumba can be extinct within five years if the government shows sluggishness.

The team included Professor Dr Chandra Prasad Pokharel at the Central Department of Botany at TU and Professor Sijioga from KU the Japanese university.

The study team also warned that extinction of the caterpillar fungus that brings Rs 15 billion annually in local level may invite serious problem in livelihood of the locals and environmental balance.Dr Pokharel who has been studying about yarchagumba for the past five years stressed the need to take immediate measure to preserve this fungus by the government.The herb found in the mountainous region from Ilam in the east to Darchula in the west. Also used as herbal aphrodisiac for men, the international market for yarchagumba is Rs 10 million per kilogram.

Also known as summer-grass winter-insect, it is found in mountains of Nepal, India, Bhutan and Tibet. Nepal produces an estimated 50 quintals of yarchagumba every year.

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