20 December 2007

The Secret Behind The Cordyceps (Special Edition)

Resources from: Wikipedia, youtube, Timo, and other related articles.
(Notes: I've used some of your names here. Search for your name and tell me if you see it! What a games.)

*In the classroom*

"Good morning Ms Curryegg"

"Good morning everyone.
Today, Miss Curryegg is going to teach you Science. It will be a very interesting class and I hope everyone will pay attention. Promise?"


"Good. Today, our topic will be Cordyceps. Before explaining anything about Cordyceps, I wish to show you a very stunning video clip from youtube"

*Happy face from all of you*

"So... how was the video clip? Do you enjoy it?

I noticed flux and baby_on_board are paying attention in my class for the very first time. Or else, they will be yawning all the way. Great job Curryegg!

"Anyone knows what is Cordyceps?"

My eyes had spotted some hands on the air, waving to catch my attention. I know they will be Paul, Wendy and Dalicia, but, I ignored them.. *naughty me*

"Generally, all Cordyceps species are parasitic, mainly on insects and other arthoropods; a few are parasitic on other fungi like the subterranean, truffle-like Elaphomyces. The mycelium invades and eventually replaces the host tissue, while the elongated fruiting body (stroma) may be cylindrical, branched, or of complex shape. The stroma bears many small, flask-shaped perithecia that contain the asci. These in turn contain the thread-like ascospores, which usually break into fragments and are presumably infective". -click here for more information.

"There are about 400 species in Cordyceps and one of the most popular species will be the Cordyceps sinensis, the Vegetable Caterpillar."

"Ms Curryegg, what is a Vegetable Caterpillar? Is it a plant?", Sameera asked in a curious tone.

"Good question! Let me explain to you. A Vegetable Caterpillar is the complex composed of the fruiting body of cordyceps and the dead larva of the insects on which the fungus is a parasitic. In late autumn, chemicals on the skin of the moth's caterpillars interact with the fungal spores and release the fungal mycelium which then infects the caterpillar. The infected caterpillar will drill underground and pass the long winter there. The mycelium starts to use the young insect as nutrient for rapid production. By early summer of the following year, the fungal infestation has killed the caterpillar and the fruiting body can be seen protruding from the caterpillar's head."

"Ahhww... the poor caterpillar...", I realized Lynnx was sobbing. She loves animals and I know she will feel sad hearing this. I could see Breezy was petting her behind her back.

"Maybe some of you may not realize that the Vegetable Caterpillar is actually the 'Dong Chong Xia Cao'. If we translate it into English, it will be known as 'Winter worm, summer grass'. Well, the word is very famous among the Chinese and usually, it is used as the medicine".

*Rolled eyes*
I could see Broken was shouting disgustingly and whispering something to his friends, Perfectwound and Rajeev after looking at these pictures. Poor Broken. But it's ok Broken, I feel the same too.

"Before, I thought 'Dong Chong Xia Cao' is a plant with a caterpillar shape. I didn't realize that I was wrong until Ms Keshi corrected me yesterday in the staff room with a series of encyclopedia books in her hand. Looks like our English teacher, Ms Keshi has a winder knowledge in Science compare to me".

Students are laughing loudly especially Apple and Johnny.
*Me? Shy*

"Ok ok. Stop laughing. Everyone will have their own mistake including me. In addition, we will never be able to study the all the Science facts if we don't have 500 years life span"

"Is that mean that we don't have to study Science since we can't be able to study all of them", Merdurian asked me cheekily.

"That's right Ms Curryegg", kaylee agreed.

*Ignoring them*

"As I've told you, the 'winter worm, summer grass' is used by the Chinese for several medical purposes. Let see the chart on the board now.

  • Improves immune system
  • Increases energy and stamina
  • Improves respiratory system
  • Anti-tumor effect
  • Anti-aging
  • Combats sexual dystuntion
It can cure or improve illness for examples:
  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Arrhythmia
  • Hypertension
  • Pneumonia
  • Hepatitis B
  • Cirrhosis
  • Leukemia
  • Rhinitis
  • Malignant tumor
  • Bronchitis
  • Diabetes
  • Rheumatism
  • Thrombocytopenia

"Look. this creature is beneficial to our body. You can buy it from the Chinese herbal shop in a raw or table form."

"Here is an article on how to protect the natural resources in Tibetan plateau. Since the numbers of Vegetable caterpillar is decreasing, some efforts have been done to protect the priceless herbs. Make sure you read it"

Soon,I handed the copies to Mac as the class monitor.


"Hurreooyy!!!", the students were shouting

"Times up. I hope to see you guys again. Please make a full report on this topic and pass up the report to me by tomorrow. Do I hear a yes from all of you?"

"............ yes...........", a down, sad tone from the class.

"Thank you Ms Curryegg".
I smiled, and disappeared from the class.