The worlds largest living organism is a Quaking Aspen tree that goes by the name of Pando, a Latin word that means “I spread”. A very fitting name for this tree that covers an area of 106 acres and weighs more than 13 million pounds!
Yes, that’s not a typo! Pando is able to reach this size by way of a typical growth method for plants called vegetative reproduction. What this means is that the root system sends up shoots which grow into what looks like an individual tree. When in actual fact the entire grove of trees shares only one root system and all shoots (or trees) are genetically identical.
Think of a strawberry plant, it shoots out long stems which in turn grow roots and sprouts a “new” plant. The Quaking Aspen works in a similar way, except that it’s “stems” (roots) are underground.
It’s impossible to tell how old Pando is. Individual stems (trees) of Pando are between 75 and 200 yrs old, but no-one knows how old the root system is. Based on fossil evidence it is possible that it could be a million years old. In principle, it may be essentially immortal, dying only from disease or the deterioration of the environment rather than from some internal clock.