Know the parts of a tree

Trees are plants that can live for many years and are characterized by having a woody stem, in addition to branching out at a certain height of the ground. In this post we are going to talk about all the parts of a tree so that you know them and also know their meaning.



The crown is one of the parts of a tree that consists of the leaves and branches that are located at the top and that plays an important role in the filtration of dust and other particles from the air. The canopy of the trees also contributes to cooling the air, while providing shade and reducing the impact of raindrops on the subsoil.


The leaves are considered to be the food factories of a tree. The leaves contain chlorophyll, which facilitates photosynthesis and at the same time provides them with that characteristic green color. Through this process of photosynthesis, the leaves use the sun’s energy to convert carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and soil water into sugar and oxygen.

Sugar, which is the food of the tree, is used or stored both in the branches, as well as in the trunk and roots. Oxygen on the other hand is released into the atmosphere. They are the parts of a tree that are constantly shedding.


This is another part of a tree, those that absorb water and nutrients from the soil, sugar and those that actually anchor the tree upright in the ground. It is important to know that all trees have lateral roots that branch in turn into smaller roots and usually extend horizontally beyond the ends of the branches.

Some trees have a main root that can reach a length of up to 4.5 meters. In addition, each root is covered with thousands of radical hairs that make it easier to absorb water and dissolved minerals from the soil.

Most of a tree’s root is found in the top 12 to 18 inches of soil because the oxygen the roots need to function properly is most abundant in that area.

Trunk or stem

The trunk or stem of a tree is the support of the crown and gives the tree its shape and strength. The trunk is made up of four layers of tissue. These layers of tissue contain a network of tubes that extends between the roots and leaves, acting as the central piping system for the tree.

These “tubes” carry water and minerals from the roots to the leaves, plus they also carry sugar from the leaves to the branches, trunk and roots.


As a tree grows, the older cells in its center become inactive and die, thereby forming what is known as heartwood.

Because it’s full of stored sugar, dyes, and oils, heartwood is usually darker than sapwood, which is another part of the tree we’ll mention below. Basically the main function of the heartwood is to support or support the tree.

Xylem or sapwood

This is a part of the tree comprising the younger layers of wood. Its network of thick-walled cells carries water and nutrients from the roots through tubes inside the trunk to the leaves, as well as to other parts of the tree.

As the tree grows, the xylem cells in the central part of the tree become inactive and also die. These dead xylem cells are the ones that form the heartwood of the tree.


In this case, cambium is a very thin layer of growing tissue that produces new cells that eventually become either xylem, phloem, or more cambium.

Each growing season, a tree’s cambium adds a new layer of xylem to its trunk, thereby producing a growth ring that is visible on most trees. Cambium is what makes the trunk, branches, and roots of the tree grow larger in diameter.

Phloem or inner cortex

The inner bark, or phloem, are the parts of a tree that lie between the cambium and the outer bark. Its function is to act as a food supply line by producing sap, that is, sugar and nutrients dissolved in the water, from the leaves to the rest of the tree.

Bark (exterior)

Finally, we have the bark, which covers the trunk, branches and twigs of the tree. The outer bark, which originates from phloem cells that have worn, died and broken off outward, acts as armor protecting the tree from insects, disease, even storms and extreme temperatures. In some trees, the outer bark also protects the tree from fire.


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Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

Robert Asprin

Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

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