The Aspen tree (Populus tremuloides) forms large stands of genetically identical trees (technically, stems) connected by a single underground root system. These trees form through root sprouts coming off an original parent tree, though the root system may not remain a single unit in all specimens. The largest known fully-connected Aspen is a grove in Utah nicknamed Pando, and some experts call it the largest organism in the world, by mass or volume. It covers 106 acres and is estimated to weigh 6,600 short tons.*
the aspens have been changing, and everyone is talking about it. so many trying, determined, to see this tree at the perfect moment. some say it’s the leaves, likes coins. moved at intervals by a coercive breeze. others say it’s the fact that a whole grove can be considered a single organism. nobody says though that they have seen this tree at the right time. always too early, too late. always, next year.
*like good composition teachers, we cite our sources. like bad composition teachers, we sometimes use Wikipedia. photo by luling osofsky.