What Do You Mean by Tree in Data Structure?


Larry Thompson

What Do You Mean by Tree in Data Structure?

In data structure, a tree is a non-linear hierarchical data structure that consists of nodes connected by edges. It is widely used to represent relationships between different elements or entities in a hierarchical manner. Each node in a tree can have zero or more child nodes, except for the root node which has no parent.

Key Terminology:

  • Root: The topmost node of the tree, which does not have a parent.
  • Parent: A node that has one or more child nodes.
  • Child: A node that has a parent node.
  • Sibling: Nodes that share the same parent.
  • Leaf: Nodes that do not have any children.

Properties of Trees:

  • Trees have a hierarchical structure with one root and multiple levels of nodes.
  • A path connects any two nodes in the tree.
  • A tree with n nodes will have n-1 edges connecting those nodes.

Types of Trees:

Binary Tree

A binary tree is a special type of tree where each node can have at most two children: left and right. This type of tree is commonly used to represent expressions, file systems, and binary search trees. The left child of a node is always less than the parent, while the right child is greater than or equal to the parent.

Binary Search Tree (BST)

A binary search tree (BST) is a type of binary tree that maintains the property that the value of each node in the left subtree is less than or equal to its parent, and the value of each node in the right subtree is greater than or equal to its parent. This property allows for efficient searching, insertion, and deletion operations.

AVL Tree

An AVL tree is a self-balancing binary search tree where the heights of the left and right subtrees of any node differ by at most one. This balance factor ensures that the height of the tree remains logarithmic, resulting in efficient operations.

Red-Black Tree

A red-black tree is another type of self-balancing binary search tree with additional properties. Each node in a red-black tree is assigned a color (red or black), and specific rules are followed to maintain balance during insertion and deletion operations. These rules guarantee that no path from the root to a leaf is more than twice as long as any other path.


Trees are versatile data structures that find applications in various fields such as computer science, mathematics, and biology. They provide an efficient way to organize and represent hierarchical relationships between different entities. Understanding trees and their properties is essential for effective problem-solving and algorithm design.

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