The hillsides around Crested Butte, Colorado, are filled with stands of Quaking Aspens (Populus tremuloides). An Aspen tree isn’t really one tree… it is actually a stand of clone “trees” all growing up from one root system that regenerates itself after each fire clears the landscape. Aspen trees grow quickly and provide cover for pine sapplings until the pine trees begin to overtake the aspens, evetually crowding them out. Some of these root systems are among the oldest living organisms on planet Earth. Photo © copyright by Chris Eaton.