Pando is a colony of quaking aspen with a single root system. It has been spreading its roots for around 14,000 years and now occupies 43 hectares. Its name is Latin for ‘spread.’
At first glance, it looks like a forest, but Pando is actually made up of 47,000 genetically identical plants that together weigh about 6,000 tons. By mass, it is the largest organism on the planet.
Similar colonies of aspen clones are found in other places on Earth, but only this one has grown so big. It should be noted that individual stems usually live no more than 130 years.
There are other amazing examples of longevity in nature. Thus, in 2012, scientists were impressed by the deep-sea sponge Monorhaphis chuni. An M. chuni specimen from the East China Sea was estimated to be around 11,000 years old.