Caterpillar fungus leads to economic boom in Tibet

06/27/2008 | Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)

Long prized in Chinese medicine for boosting immune systems, the rare caterpillar fungus can only be found along a 1,000-mile stretch of land in Tibet. The fungus feeds on caterpillar larvae, and must be harvested in a window of 40 days in the rocky terrain of the Tibetan mountains. Tibetans sell the fungus for $900 an ounce, which has led to an improbable economic boom in remote communities.

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