How Does Python Store Data in Tree Structure?


Heather Bennett

Python is a versatile programming language that offers various data structures to store and manipulate data efficiently. One such data structure is a tree, which provides a hierarchical representation of data. In this article, we will explore how Python stores data in a tree structure.

What is a Tree?
A tree is a non-linear data structure consisting of nodes connected by edges. It resembles a real-life tree, with the topmost node called the root and other nodes branching out from it. Each node can have zero or more child nodes, forming the branches of the tree.

Types of Trees

Binary Tree

A binary tree is a special type of tree where each node has at most two child nodes – left child and right child. This type of tree is widely used in various algorithms and data structures.

Binary Search Tree (BST)

A binary search tree is an extension of the binary tree, where each node’s left child contains a value less than the node’s value, and the right child contains a value greater than the node’s value. This property makes searching and sorting operations efficient.

Balanced Tree

Balanced trees, such as AVL trees and Red-Black trees, are designed to keep the height difference between left and right subtrees minimal. This balancing ensures efficient insertion, deletion, and searching operations even for large datasets.

Storing Data in Trees

To store data in a tree structure using Python, we can define our own custom classes to represent nodes and their relationships. Let’s consider an example where we want to store integers in a binary search tree.

Defining Node Class:

class Node:
def __init__(self, value):
self.value = value
self.left = None
self.right = None

In the above code, we define a Node class with an initializer that sets the value of the node and initializes the left and right child pointers to None.

Inserting Data:

To insert data into a binary search tree, we start from the root node and compare the value with each node’s value. If the value is less than the current node’s value, we move to its left child; otherwise, we move to its right child. We continue this process until we find an empty spot to insert our data.

def insert(root, value):
if root is None:
return Node(value)
if value < root.value: root.left = insert(root.left, value) else: root.right = insert(root.right, value) return root ``` In this code snippet, we define an insert function that recursively inserts a new node into the binary search tree based on its value. Traversing a Tree:

There are several ways to traverse a tree to access or display its elements. The most common traversal methods are in-order, pre-order, and post-order.

  • In-Order Traversal: In this traversal method, we first visit the left subtree recursively, then visit the current node, and finally visit the right subtree.
  • Pre-Order Traversal: Here, we visit the current node first, then traverse the left subtree recursively, and finally traverse the right subtree.
  • Post-Order Traversal: This traversal visits the left subtree first, then visits the right subtree recursively before visiting the current node.


def inorder_traversal(node):
if node:

The above code demonstrates an in-order traversal of a binary search tree. It recursively traverses the left subtree, prints the current node’s value, and then recursively traverses the right subtree.


Python provides flexibility in implementing and utilizing tree data structures. By defining custom classes and using appropriate traversal techniques, we can efficiently store and retrieve data in a tree structure. Understanding how data is stored in a tree allows us to leverage its hierarchical nature for solving various problems effectively.

Whether you are working with binary trees, binary search trees, or balanced trees, Python offers robustness and simplicity in handling these data structures. With the help of custom classes and appropriate algorithms, you can easily manipulate data stored in a tree to meet your specific requirements.

So go ahead, explore the world of trees in Python, and unlock new possibilities for storing and organizing your data!

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