A is for Aspen

look up aspen trees


This month, I am participating in a rather LARGE blogging challenge which involves writing a series of 26 posts – one for each letter of the alphabet – based around a theme. My theme is about nature and all its amazing features. The Tao Te Ching speaks often of nature and then patterns of nature are where the I Ching gets its roots: no pun intended.

So, today is all about the aspen. You would think, growing up as a forester’s daughter, that I would know every tree out there like the back of my hand. Not entirely true. In fact, the aspen look a lot like birch trees so I’ve probably looked at many of them in my lifetime and thought they were the wrong tree.

But this is not a story just about trees: the aspen tree is a very special tree. For one, it is one of the largest living organisms on the planet. Beaten out only by fungal mats and creosote bushes, it is also one of the oldest beings on the planet – sometimes living over thousands of years as a single entity. The Pando in the Fishlake National Forest north of Bryce Canyon in Utah is one of the oldest.

What is interesting about this tree is that it is not just one tree. A grove of aspen trees are usually all part of one entity, connected together under the ground by its vast root system. Some root systems span hundreds of acres. Each tree springs up from the same roots.

So how can they tell if a tree is of the same plant? Trees that share the same root system are called “clones” because they share the exact same DNA. They have the same branch structures as their brothers and sisters. People who understand that stuff, like my dad, can tell.

Well, I could talk to you all day about aspen, but you’ve got lots of other blogs to visit. If you like this post, please share it! Then come back again for the next installment! You can also follow my blog on BlogLovin’.

This post is part of a series called the A to Z Blogging Challenge, taking place during the month of April 2016. Each day is a new letter throughout the month. My theme this month is NATURE. To view other bloggers writing about this alphabet, check out the list here



  1. Amy, I’m really looking forward to this series. Thanks for teaching us about the Aspen tree. It’s not one that I was familiar with.

  2. I just love the A-Z Blogging Challenge – you can learn so much from what inspires others. Enjoyed your post about Aspens, and will stop back in April to see what else you’re sharing. All the best.

  3. Great theme, Amy! I never knew that aspens were all connected. That’s very interesting… maybe a metaphor for our species to ponder, if we also hope to remain on the earth as long?
    Laura Roberts recently posted…Amazing Art & Architecture #AtoZChallengeMy Profile

  4. You’ve made me curious, and that’s a wonderful way to start the day! Are there subtle visible differences between aspen and birch? Are they so similar because they’re related? Do birch also grow as clones? Haha — am I asking too many questions?

  5. I learned something new today, Amy – had no idea Aspens were old or clones. Guess they don’t grow on the east coast? I’m looking forward to seeing how you handle the next 25 (nature is a topic I can certainly embrace).
    Nanette Levin recently posted…Good interviews involve preparationMy Profile

  6. That is so neat… I love trees, and as a storyteller, I also love tree stories. And forests… I’ll have to pay more attention to aspens 🙂
    Happy A to Z!

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Tarkabarka recently posted…A is for Adoption (and Stepmothers)My Profile

  7. This was so interesting to me. Looking forward to this series! I’m sure I’ll learn a lot!
    Vickie Martin Conison recently posted…MARCH READING – A MIXED BAGMy Profile

  8. Congrats on this huge commitment to blogging through the alphabet.

    Trees are my number one thing that mesmerizes me whether I am driving or sitting on a bench or walking, even in photos, I always seem to spot the beautiful trees. I LOVE that you started your blog with information on the Aspen and that gorgeous photo!
    Elda recently posted…Are You A Blamer?My Profile

  9. Love this Amy. And I’m so amused that I JUST discovered, literally days ago, about the aspen “oneness.” Looking forward to your journey through the alphabet.
    Deborah Weber recently posted…Manifesto: D is for…My Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by, Deborah! How fun that we both “discovered” aspen. My husband added visiting Pango to our collective bucket list. He said that he’s always wanted to go there. <3
      amy recently posted…D is for Deep SpaceMy Profile

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