Basic Anatomy of a Tree [Explained]

Basic Anatomy of a Tree

Just like we human beings consist of numerous body parts and organs, the same thing goes for a tree! You only might be familiar with the leaves, branches, and noticeable parts. But guess what? A tree can have more parts, and each serves different characteristics. 

In today’s topic, I’d like to share a basic anatomy of a tree to help you achieve an intermediate-level knowledge of a standard tree. So let’s start reading!

What Is the Anatomy of a Tree?

Basic Anatomy of a Tree

Every tree consists of some specific parts, and each has its own unique definition, characteristics, and so on. The given anatomy of a tree will walk you through the details of each part to let you get some education:

1. Crown

The canopy or crown stands on the peak of a tree, where leaves, branches, fruits, and flowers reside. From here, every tree is prone to release oxygen, absorb Co2, create nutrients, and conduct photosynthesis.

Basic Anatomy of a Tree

Here is a quick chart to help you get familiar with the 5 most common types of crowns. And note that each contains a distinct characteristic and shape.

Type of CrownDistinct Shape
Full CrownBusy and round
Weeping CrownHang downwards
Spreading CrownExpansive and kind of twisting
Columnar CrownSkinny and long
Pyramid CrownTriangular-shaped

2. Trunk

This is where you often notice first. A tree truck is considered the largest part that stands on the ground and assists in holding other parts. It is, in fact, relatively wider and bigger in size, depending on the type of tree.

Moreover, it consists of a couple of different layers, which are as follows:

  • Interior bark: Commonly known as phloem, the interior bark is considered a pipeline to pass through nutrients to the other parts of the tree.
  • Exterior bark: It plays a significant role in keeping every obstacle at bay, including excess heat, cold, moisture, water, rain, and insects.
  • Cambium: Basically, this layer tends to grow in terms of generating new wood and bark for optimal plant growth.
  • Sapwood: Also known as alburnum, it is an outer living layer that plays a role in the engagement of transporting minerals and water to the tree’s crown.

Watch this video to get a practical view of the tree trunk:

3. Leaves

Basic Anatomy of a Tree

Leaves are known to be the second common part, where we sometimes notice to detect the actual type of the tree. For the role-play of carrying out photosynthesis, they are prone to make useful food for trees and release the required oxygen.

The jagged, leaflets, and lobes can be noticeable on some broad-sized leaves. These aid in decreasing the overall wind resistance and evaporating the water. Considering the appearance and shape, many people can categorize or identify leaves.

4. Branches

Basically, the branches are liable to support the flowers, fruits, and leaves and transfer essential nutrients to the trunk. Two types of branches are common on a tree: boughs and twigs.

Large branches are often considered boughs, while smaller ones are known as twigs. No matter what, they both offer additional structural support.

5. Roots

Basic Anatomy of a Tree

The root system of a tree assists in absorbing the minerals and essential amounts of water from the soil to keep it hydrated. Depending on the type, roots consist of three things, like –

  • Root collar: Here is where the root system is prone to join!
  • Stability root: Into the soil, it tends to go relatively deeper to offer the necessary support. And thus, it stabilizes the entire tree.
  • Feeder root: Despite being thin and small, this root has formed pretty densely to absorb nutrients and water from underneath the soil.


A tree gets a complete shape and appearance with the combination of each part. Through the basic anatomy of a tree, I tried to explain each part’s characteristics so that you can get a complete idea. 

Feel free to do more research on those parts, especially on different types of trees because some unique variants may contain a few extra components.

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q’s):

What is the center of a tree called?

In a word, the center of the tree is familiar as the “heartwood.” During the time when the exterior layer stays intact, it can hold its actual strength.

What is the pith on a tree?

Medulla, also known as pitch, is a name of tissue made of spongy and soft cells. It basically keeps the nutrients stored to supply the required period.

Md Biajid

Meet Mia Biajid, a passionate nature lover. Particularly, he has a deep-rooted connection to the plant. Mia loves to spend time exploring forests and uncovering the secrets held within trees. He always inspires others to appreciate and protect our precious part of the ecosystem.

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