Utah Has a Forest Full of Golden Clones

Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
May 6 2014 9:33 AM

Utah Has a Forest Full of Golden Clones

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world's hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook, Tumblr, or follow us on Twitter @atlasobscura.

Behold Pando, the Trembling Giant!

This golden grove of quaking aspens, named after the Latin word for "spread out," is located in Fishlake National Forest, Utah. Though it looks like a forest, the whole thing is actually a single organism. Every tree — or stem, technically — is genetically identical, and the whole forest is linked by a single root system. Pando's aspens reproduce asexually by sprouting new stems from the root structure.

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With over 40,000 stems and a weight of 13 million pounds, the Pando clonal colony is the heaviest known organism in the world. It's also among the oldest living things on the planet — the root system is an estimated 80,000 years old.

More arboreal ardor:


View Pando Forest in a larger map

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