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Image: Chris Ford
During this time of year a drive through the mountains is colored with the vibrant colors of aspen leaves. The aspen is one of the most widespread tree species in North America. While one aspen tree may seem small it is actually part of a much larger organism. A group of aspen trees is connected underground by an extensive root system. These groups of trees are called clones because the trees are genetic replicas of one another. One of the oldest aspen clones has lived for more than 80,000 years in Utah’s Fish Lake National Forest. It is also the largest organism ever found weighing nearly 13 million pounds. The clone spreads over a 106 acres consisting of over 40,000 individual trees. So while the golden leaves may fall away these trees will survive for years to come. With your WyoBio Minute I am Sara Kirkpatrick.