I look at a single Aspen tree, and marvel at the beautiful form, shape, and color in summer, winter, spring, and fall. Aspens grow year around, even in the winter. Aspen are the only deciduous tree I know of that does. Another magical fact is that a stand or group of aspen trees is considered a singular organism with the main life force underground in the extensive root system. Before a single aspen trunk appears above the surface, the root system may lie dormant for many years until the conditions are just right, including sufficient sunlight. In a single stand, each tree is a genetic replicate of the other, hence the name a “clone” of aspens used to describe a stand.
Older than the massive Sequoias or the biblical Bristlecone Pines, the oldest known aspen clone has lived more than 80,000 years on Utah’s Fishlake National Forest. Not only is the clone the oldest living organism, weighing in at an estimated 6,600 tons, it is also the heaviest. Even if the trees of a stand are wiped out, it is very difficult to permanently extinguish an aspen’s root system due to the rapid rate in which it reproduces.