Cordyceps: While Tang and Chumey gewogs in Bumthang saw yet another round of poor cordyceps (cordyceps sinensis) collection, collectors from Chokhor have returned from the mountains with bountiful harvest this year.

Last year, Bumthang reported poor collection of cordyceps. By early June, most collectors returned home following the scarcity of priced caterpillar. Collection ends only by June 26.

Nima from Chorkhortoe, who returned from Gangkarpuensum, said that most of the collectors are still up in the mountains because of better harvest this year.

“They will continue combing the mountains until the end of this month,” Nima said. Nima managed to collect around 1,500 cordyceps this year compared with less than a 100 last year. “This year I collected 600 caterpillars in two days, almost 100 every day.”

The collectors from Chokhor go to places like Pasanglung, Dheurup, Kamrapchung, Yambrey, Zhaygyephu for cordyceps collection.

Tshewang Dorji, cordyceps collector from Norbuganag, said that the collectors reported getting better collection this year. He has just returned from  Gangkar Puensum. “Although I am a first-timer, I managed to get around 200 pieces.”

Chokhor Tshogpa Sonam Jamtsho said that the collectors who returned reported better collection than last year.

“Even those who spent only 18 days in the mountains returned with 510 to 511 pieces,” Sonam Jamtsho said. The experienced ones will have collected over 1,000 cordyceps.

According to Nima, herders who stay in the mountains throughout the year would have collected the highest numbers because they are there from the onset of the cordyceps growing season to the end of the harvest season.“If what I heard is true, a herder from Nasphel has collected 7,000 pieces from Sayjay in Gangkar Puensum.”

He said that given the bigger size of the cordyceps in Saygay, which are as big as little finger of a grown man, 7,000 should weigh over one kilogram easily. The caterpillar from Saygay and Zhaygyephu fetch better price.

Gyetsa Tshogpa Chundu Tshering said that all the f collectors from Gyetsa who have gone to Pengaphu returned  with poor collection.“They went twice and came back with almost nothing.” Similarly, the collectors from Chungphel returned with no cordyceps from Briktingla and Chengala.

The collectors from Tang also returned with just a handful of caterpillars. The month long collection period began from May 20.

“The collection permit was issued on May 20 and the last date to return from the mountains is June 26,” said Kencho Tshering, gewog administrative officer.

The cordyceps in Bumthang will be auctioned between 27 and 28 July in Chokhor gewog centre.

By Tempa Wangdi, Bumthang