Monday, August 1, 2011

From "Listverse"--and like this root system, we are all connected beneath the surface


"'Pando' is Latin for 'I spread.' It is not one tree. It is about 47,000 quaking aspen trees, all growing from a single root system. That root system is spread over 106 acres, is about 80,000 years old, and experts have no idea when it will die. It weighs about 6,600 tons, making it the heaviest organism of any kind known to exist in the Universe. The experts are fairly certain that it has not flowered for the last 10,000 years, thus the end of the last Ice Age. Every time a wildfire has burned down all its trees, the root system has survived underground and started anew.

Each tree lives for about 130 years, dies, and is reconstituted through the roots and becomes a new tree elsewhere nearby. The trees reproduce by means of suckers, which are lateral roots sent out from each trunk until they sprout out of the dirt. These trees don’t look identical, but they have an identical genetic makeup, all spreading from one root system to form a single genetic individual, called a clonal colony. In fall, the leaves change to the color of gold brick and seem to glow in the sunlight."


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