What Are the Basic Properties of Tree in Data Structure?


Larry Thompson

What Are the Basic Properties of Tree in Data Structure?

A tree is a widely used data structure in computer science and has various properties that make it unique and powerful. In this article, we will delve into the basic properties of a tree and understand how they contribute to its effectiveness in storing and organizing data.

Definition of a Tree

Before we explore the properties, let’s briefly define what a tree is. In simple terms, a tree is an abstract data type that represents a hierarchical structure consisting of nodes connected by edges.

It resembles a real-life tree with branches stemming out from a central trunk.

Basic Properties of a Tree

Hierarchical Structure:

One of the fundamental properties of a tree is its hierarchical structure. It follows a top-down approach, where each node except the root has one parent node and zero or more children nodes.

This property allows us to organize data in an organized and logical manner.

Root Node:

The root node is the topmost node in a tree hierarchy. It serves as the entry point for accessing all other nodes in the tree.

A tree can have only one root node, which does not have any parent node.

Child Nodes:

Child nodes are directly connected to their parent nodes through edges. Each parent node can have multiple child nodes, but each child node can only have one parent node.

This property enables us to represent relationships between different elements efficiently.

Leaf Nodes:

Leaf nodes are the bottommost nodes in a tree hierarchy that do not have any child nodes. They are also known as terminal or external nodes.

Leaf nodes play a crucial role in storing and retrieving data efficiently.


The depth of a node in a tree is the number of edges between the root node and that particular node. The root node has a depth of 0, and each subsequent level increases the depth by 1.

This property helps in analyzing and understanding the structure of the tree.


The height of a tree is the maximum depth among all its nodes. It represents the length of the longest path from the root node to any leaf node.

The height property determines how balanced or skewed a tree is, affecting its efficiency in operations such as searching and inserting elements.


In conclusion, trees are versatile data structures with unique properties that make them suitable for various applications. The hierarchical structure, presence of root, child, and leaf nodes, along with depth and height properties, contribute to their effectiveness in storing and organizing data efficiently.

Understanding these basic properties is essential for mastering trees and utilizing them effectively in solving complex problems related to data management and manipulation.

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