Here we enjoy the last of River Valley Ranch’s fall colours with an uplifting display located between some of our Hoodoo Badlands and the Kootenay River.

Did you know the Quaking or Trembling Aspen (Populus tremuloides) is considered the world’s largest living organism? It sends up new tree shoots from its roots to form large genetically identical clonal groves, all living on a single shared root system. One clonal colony in Utah (which is considered to be the heaviest) is six million kilograms in mass, occupies 108 acres, and is reported to be 14,000 years old!

Aspens are dioecious, with separate male and female clones. Each grove will then be either entirely male or female. Aspens also propagate by seed. The male catkins will be the first to bloom with the wind carrying the mature pollen to awaiting catkins in a female grove.  A spring visit would be the time to investigate this – see if what you are looking at is a male grove or a female grove.