Size Does Matter: Polis Says Australia Has it Wrong
Colorado is proud to hold the record for the world's largest plant, but Australia is seeking to take that title.
According to a press release from the office of Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Australia is mistaken in believing that they are home to the world's largest plant.
The News From Down Under that Shook Colorado
A recent article from the New York Times covers a study from Jane Edgeloe, a University of Western Australia Ph.D. candidate, who believes that Shark Bay Posidonia in Australia is home to the world's largest plant.
Edgeloe discovered that the seagrass covering the ocean floor of Shark Bay Posidonia is, "the same individual plant that has been cloning itself for about 4,500 years."
Edgeloe pulled up shoots of Posidonia from 10 different meadows and when they were analyzed, she found the DNA of the plants to be virtually identical.
Governor Polis Defends Colorado Pride
The news of Australia becoming the new home to the world's largest plant quickly spread, but Governor Polis was quick to defend Colorado's title.
Australia is vainly professing that a self-cloning underwater sea grass forest is even larger than Colorado’s world-class Aspen groves. We don’t know what’s going on down under but up at our elevation we know Colorado’s gorgeous Aspen groves are a sight to behold and are the world’s largest plant.
The Aspen groves Gov. Polis is speaking of are located northwest of Crested Butte, known as the Kebler Pass Aspen Grove.
Similar to the shoots of Posidonia, Aspen groves are:
connected through a common root system and each tree is akin to a shoot coming out from the same, vast underground organism.
World's Largest Plant May Actually be in Utah
Another contender for the world record is Utah's Pando Aspen grove which is 106 acres.
It appears that Gov. Polis is okay with disputing the world title, but is not ready to concede any time soon to Australia. In fact, Gov. Polis gave these facts to those ready to defend Colorado's honor:
1) Many patches of their sea grass, while genetically indentical, are not in fact connected to one another and are therefore separate organism with the same genetics
2) Overall size of an organism must also factor in mass, not just area covered, and Aspen trees and root systems are far more massive than wispy sea grasses
3) According to BBC, researchers “detected some very subtle mutations in the plant’s genetics across the places it was growing” further confirming that the sea grass is not one, single plant organism.
So at the end of the day what we've really learned is that size does matter.