Thursday, November 20, 2014

An Aspen Grove

Aspens are one of my favorite trees. During the past few years it has been interesting to read about the scientific discoveries about aspen groves. It turns out that the trees are all one huge organism connected in a vast root system. Each tree is essentially part of one huge plant structure. Some of these aspen groves may be among the largest living and oldest living organisms on the planet. One large grove of aspens in Utah is described as follows on Wikipedia:
Pando (Latin for "I spread"), also known as The Trembling Giant,[1][2] is a clonal colony of a single male quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) determined to be a single living organism by identical genetic markers[3] and assumed to have one massive underground root system. The plant is estimated to weigh collectively 6,000,000 kg (6,600 short tons),[4] making it the heaviest known organism.[5] The root system of Pando, at an estimated 80,000 years old, is among the oldest known living organisms.[6][7]
I left in all the footnote links to help give context to this rare natural phenomena.

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