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​When I moved to Colorado, I became aware of the many different trees that I had no idea what they were. Can there be that much difference in trees between Ohio and Colorado?

Then I learned that most of the trees here in my area are not native and were planted by home/ranch owners. One day my daughter asked me what kind of tree was in her back yard.

I looked and it really threw me, never, ever seen anything like it. Very different, as you can see from the picture. I asked, I researched and found out it is a variety of  Aspen, a tree native to Colorado. I also found out something really amazing. The Aspen is the largest living organism in the world!!  How can that be? Aspen tree roots join and form one organism and can cover vast areas. A dry area of trees can be nourished by a wet area quite a distance away. That amazed me. There seem to be different varieties, not all trees have the pattern in the picture.

 So why haven't  we used this wood in wood working?  It is a light pithy wood and some call it junk wood because it has no good use, not even firewood. I don't call it junk, I call it one of natures great things.

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I remember seeing a National Geo documentary on our national parks and within one of those parks was the Aspen, and I was amazed at their claim that the Aspen region is the worlds largest organism, it blew me away Ron. I have seen other claims that the Great Barrier Reef is the largest organism, but there are technical differences that I don't have time to sort out being the layman that I am. But for now I'll proudly call our country home to the largest living organism, the Quaking Aspen found as described below.

 

"Now comes welcome news that an even larger organism has been identified in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. It's a huge stand of 47,000 quaking aspen trees and stems, growing from a single root system, that covers 106 acres, is genetically uniform and acts as a single organism. When the trees change color in the fall, they do so in unison, like the card section at halftime of a football game." Source: The New York Times

 

I know we can play this one up-manship game all day, but sometimes it's fun. Years back I came home from work one day and lined my kids up for their daily school debriefing. And during my debriefing of my youngest girl who was in 3rd grade at the time, she quizzed me, she asked me Daddy, do you know what the largest desert is in the entire world? I stammered because my geography is horrible, my true colors were showing now right in front of my own kid, and I answered well, the Sahara? No she said. The Gobi? No she said. Death Valley? Losing patience with the ol man she yelled NO DADDY! It's Antarctica! Well I was blown away! But that place has snow, ice, how can it be the largest desert in the world? Well it is. And my kids are getting smarter and smarter, and my two oldest girls passed the ol man up years ago, I barely have an advantage over my 5th grade son at this point!

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