Question: Are cordyceps considered vegetarian?
Answer: There are cordyceps that are grown out of the bodies of caterpillars, usually sold retaining the form of caterpillars. As the definition of what is ‘vegetarian’ is that it must be free of meat, this kind of cordyceps is clearly NOT vegetarian.
Even if the end products came from natural deaths (instead of deliberate breeding for infecting and dying) of the caterpillars in the wild, it is thus still NOT vegetarian (as they still contain their bodies). Note too, that the consciousnesses of the caterpillars might still be habitually attached to their bodies.
The other kind of cordyceps that does NOT involve any sentient beings are not only vegetarian, they are also vegan, as they are cultivated with plants only, with no animals or animal products used. When there is uncertainty, vegetarians and vegans should avoid consuming them.