By VacationIdea Staff. Last Updated on June 18, 2017.
Pando, which is Latin for “I spread,” is the world’s oldest known living organism, a grove consisting of a single male quaking aspen. Pando is what’s known as a clonal colony, a group of genetically identical plants that live in a single location and have grown through vegetative reproduction, not sexually, from a single organism.
Although Pando appears to be a grove of individual trees, its underground roots are connected, and each stem is propagated from this root system. While the 40,000 individual stems cycle through an average 130-year lifespan, the root system is estimated to be over 80,000 years old. Some scientists estimate the organism is closer to 1 million years old. As the individual stems die off, they are replaced by new growth from the root system. Pando lives in the Fishlake National Forest, just 1 mile southwest of Fish Lake in southern Utah, and spans an area of 106 acres. The massive underground root system collectively weighs over 13 million pounds, making Pando not just the oldest, but also the largest and heaviest living organism.
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