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Pando Aspen Clone

Pando is believed to be the largest, most dense organism ever found at nearly 13 million pounds. The clone spreads over 106 acres, consisting of over 40,000 individual trees. The exact age of the clone and its root system is difficult to calculate, but it is estimated to have started at the end of the last ice age.

Some of the trees are over 130 years old. It was first recognized by researchers in the 1970s and more recently proven by geneticists. Its massive size, weight, and prehistoric age have caused worldwide fame.

Pando Aspen Clones

Key Points


Pando was identified in 1976 by Jerry Kemperman and Burton Barnes.[13][14] Michael Grant, Jeffrey Mitton, and Yan Linhart of the University of Colorado at Boulder re-examined the clone in 1992, naming it Pando and claiming it to be the world’s largest organism by weight.[1] Both teams of researchers described Pando as a single asexual reproduction organism based on its morphological characteristics. Genetic sampling and analysis in 2008 by Jennifer DeWoody, Carol Rowe, Valerie Hipkins, and Karen Mock of Utah State University and the University of Southampton confirmed the earlier analyses and increased the clone’s estimated size from 43.3 to 43.6 ha.[2] Paul Rogers and Darren McAvoy, also with Utah State University, completed the first comprehensive assessment of Pando’s status in 2018 and stressed the importance of reducing herbivory by mule deer to conserving Pando for the future.[9] Rogers and Jan Šebesta surveyed other vegetation within Pando besides aspen in 2019, finding additional support for their 2018 conclusion interactions between browsing and past and ongoing management have had adverse effects on Pando’s long-term resilience to change.


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