What Are Types of Tree Data Structure?


Heather Bennett

What Are Types of Tree Data Structure?

A tree is a widely used data structure that represents hierarchical relationships between elements. It consists of nodes connected by edges, where each node can have zero or more child nodes.

Trees are used in various applications such as file systems, organization structures, and decision-making processes. In this article, we will explore different types of tree data structures and their characteristics.

Binary Trees

A binary tree is a type of tree where each node has at most two child nodes: a left child and a right child. These child nodes can themselves be binary trees, creating a recursive structure. Binary trees have several variations, including:

  • Full Binary Tree: A binary tree in which every node other than the leaves has two children.
  • Complete Binary Tree: A binary tree in which all levels except the last are completely filled, and all nodes are as far left as possible.
  • Perfect Binary Tree: A binary tree in which all internal nodes have two children and all leaves are at the same level.

Balanced Trees

Balanced trees are designed to keep the height of the tree relatively small compared to the number of nodes. This helps maintain efficient search and insertion operations. Some common types of balanced trees include:

  • AVL Tree: A self-balancing binary search tree where the heights of the left and right subtrees differ by at most one.
  • Red-Black Tree: Another self-balancing binary search tree with additional color properties for efficient balancing operations.
  • B-tree: A self-balancing search tree designed to reduce disk I/O operations by allowing multiple keys per node.

Multiway Trees

In multiway trees, each node can have more than two child nodes. These trees are suitable for representing hierarchical structures with more complex relationships. Some examples of multiway trees include:

  • Ternary Tree: A tree in which each node can have up to three child nodes.
  • Quad Tree: A tree in which each node can have up to four child nodes, commonly used in spatial partitioning and image compression algorithms.
  • B-tree: Apart from being a balanced tree, the B-tree is also a multiway tree as it allows multiple keys per node.


A trie, also known as a prefix tree, is a specialized type of tree used for efficient retrieval of data associated with keys. In a trie, each node represents a common prefix shared by its descendants. Tries are commonly used for applications like autocomplete and dictionary implementations.


Trees are versatile data structures that offer various ways to organize and represent hierarchical relationships. Whether it’s a binary tree for efficient searching or a multiway tree for complex hierarchies, choosing the right type of tree depends on the specific requirements of your application.

By understanding the different types of trees available, you can make informed decisions about which data structure best suits your needs. Experimenting with different types of trees can lead to more efficient algorithms and better overall performance in your applications.

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