Pando is a single tree that spans 106 acres.
Pando is the world’s largest tree and largest organism.
Botanist Burton Barnes was the first to document the tree in 1976.
Pando is male and regenerates itself by sending up new stems from the roots – a process known as suckering.
Pando features over 47,000 stems which appear to us as individual trees but are in fact, branches of a single tree.
Pando’s estimated dry weight is 13.3 Million pounds making it three times larger than the next largest tree.
Pando is a quaking aspen whose scientific name is Populus tremuloides.
Michael Grant named the tree “Pando” which is Latin for “I Spread”.
The name tremuloides refers to the way the trees “tremble” when the wind blows.
Pando lives in Fishlake National Forest in the Fish Lake Basin, home to Utah’s largest natural mountain freshwater lake.
Pando’s energy production, defense and regeneration involves every stem working to sustain the entire 106 acre tree.
Each stem of Pando is genetically identical to other stems but – derives its unique characteristics from its immediate environment.
Each stem can reach heights of 100 feet tall, 3 feet wide and spread up to 30 feet at the top.
Utah locals call aspen trees “quakies.”
The leaves of quaking aspen connect at right angles allowing them to deflect wind and conserve water.
Aspen provide natural fire breaks as their bodies feature high water content and do not burn readily.
The Pando is endangered by a triple threat; foraging by deer and elk and two diseases commonly found in aspen trees.
Elk and deer love eating the sugar rich stems and leaves, but this behavior stymies an aspen clone’s ability to regenerate and can kill the tree if not kept in check.
The “eyes” of Pando, and all aspen, are branch scars, the places where branches fall off as the stem grows up.
According to legend, the eyes of aspen are said to watch over children.
Aspen trees contain chlorophyll in their bark allowing them to create energy without their leaves.
Pando shares it’s home with black bear, red fox, mountain lions, rocky mountain elk and mule deer.
There is no way to tell Pando’s actual age, but it could not be older than 12,000 years since the land it inhabits was covered by a glacier.
If left alone, each stem of Pando can live 120-150 years.
Fencing is used to protect Pando from over-browsing by deer and elk.
The US Forest Service and volunteers have helped install fencing around 56 acres of the tree.
Today, Pando does not enjoy formal protections as other famous trees like Redwoods or Joshua Trees do.
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