On the Fish Lake Plateau in the Fish Lake National Forest, located in South-central Utah, lives what has been dubbed one of the Wonders of America. Pando (or the Trembling Giant) is a male Quaking Aspen that has been dated as being 80,000 years old, making it the oldest living organism in the world. (Some have even claimed that it may be closer to 1 million years old.) Pando is actually a clonal colony, meaning that it is a group of trees that all originate from a single root, or ancestor. The root system of Pando is estimated to weigh more than 6,600 tons, making it also the heaviest known organism in the world. The colony takes up some 107 acres and has more than 47,000 trunks, which are in a constant state of dying and being replenished by the massive root system. Each trunk lives about 130 years.
Pando – Latin for “I spread” – was discovered in the 1970s by Burton V. Barnes of the University of Michigan, an expert on North American aspens.