Codecademy Logo


Python TreeNode class

A TreeNode is a data structure that represents one entry of a tree, which is composed of multiple of such nodes.

The topmost node of a tree is called the “root”, and each node (with the exception of the root node) is associated with one parent node. Likewise, each node can have an arbitrary number of child nodes. An implementation of a TreeNode class in Python should have functions to add nodes, remove nodes, and traverse nodes within the tree.

class TreeNode:
def __init__(self, value):
self.value = value # data
self.children = [] # references to other nodes
def add_child(self, child_node):
# creates parent-child relationship
print("Adding " + child_node.value)
def remove_child(self, child_node):
# removes parent-child relationship
print("Removing " + child_node.value + " from " + self.value)
self.children = [child for child in self.children
if child is not child_node]
def traverse(self):
# moves through each node referenced from self downwards
nodes_to_visit = [self]
while len(nodes_to_visit) > 0:
current_node = nodes_to_visit.pop()
nodes_to_visit += current_node.children

Wide and deep trees

There are two ways to describe the shape of a tree. Trees can be wide, meaning that each node has many children. And trees can be deep, meaning that there are many parent-child connections with few siblings per node. Trees can be both wide and deep at the same time.

Nodes as parents

Trees in computer science are often talked about similarly to family trees. A tree node that references one or more other nodes is called a “parent”.

A tree node can be a “parent” and a “child” simultaneously, because they are not exclusive. For instance, a node ‘b’ can be the child of node ‘a’, while being the parent to nodes ‘d’ and ‘e’. However, a child can only have one parent, while a parent can have multiple children.

Trees are composed of nodes

Trees are a data structure composed of nodes used for storing hierarchical data.

Each tree node typically stores a value and references to its child nodes.

Tree nodes children

A tree node contains a value, and can also include references to one or more additional tree nodes which are known as “children”.

Node root

In a tree data structure, the node that is not the child of any other node is called the root of the tree. A tree can only have one root.

Learn More on Codecademy