I suspect we have lots that we agree on. I think the clonal relationship that exists between aspens is fascinating, but only at that level. I have been struggling enough with the relationship between two or more attached trees above ground, to let the aspen clone issue go.
Because of the following paragraph, I've come to appreciate the occasional view of single-tree and multiple-tree cross-sections, even if they are inevitably the result of "destructive sampling". At the end of this post, I'll see if I can insert an image recently captured from Ed Franks NTS/Facebook page [at: What do you think of this art?
Woodcut: A Meditation on Time Through the Inked Cross-Sections of Fallen Trees. More images - http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/ ... nash-gill/
I've come to view "a" tree consisting of a root system going down from the seed, and an apical meristem going up from there (that zone often referred to as the root collar). As the meristem completes its vertical growth year, each successive (generally) annual increment of lateral xylem growth forms a concentric annual ring. With the subsequent addition of meristematic growth, the previous meristem dies and becomes pith. "A" single tree has a single set of concentric annual rings that started up from a single seed.
All the issues of measuring trees, whether single- or multi-stemmed, start from the relationship of where their seed source was, and the height of their pith line branching above that.
Recognizing who I am blogging with, I have to hurriedly add, the above rambling is limited to what we in most of North America might refer to as 'standard form'. Your tropical variants to standard form are mind-boggling!
All that said, I was pleased to see the inkblock print of the cross-section above, with my mind piecing together the involuted 3D trunk, and 'retrospectively' trying to imagine what I'd have thought was going on inside...getting late, rambling, signing off!