Long Durational Natural Phenomenon

Existence of Pando

Duration: 80,000 years

Text via Wikipedia
Cover photograph CC BY 2.5 Scott Catron

Pando (Latin for "I spread"), also known as The Trembling Giant, is a clonal colony of a single male quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) determined to be a single living organism by identical genetic markers and assumed to have one massive underground root system. The plant is estimated to weigh collectively 6,000,000 kilograms (6,600 short tons), making it the heaviest known organism. The root system of Pando is estimated to be 80,000 years old and is among the oldest known living organisms.

Photograph by J Zapell

Pando is thought to have grown for much of its lifetime under ideal circumstances: frequent forest fires have prevented its main competitor, conifers, from colonizing the area, and a climate shift from wet and humid to semi-arid has obstructed seedling establishment and the accompanying rivalry from younger aspens.

The clonal colony encompasses 43 hectares (106 acres) and has over 40,000 stems (trunks), which die individually and are replaced by new stems growing from its roots.

To read more about Pando, click here.