The Anatomy Of A Tree

the anatomy of a tree

The Anatomy Of A Tree

In this tutorial, we will learn about all the different parts, or anatomy of a tree.

Anatomy means all the little parts that come together to make one big part. In this case, a tree. So, what are the parts of a tree? Well, a tree has three main parts:

  • Roots
  • Trunk
  • Crown

Each of these three parts can be broken down further into even smaller parts.

The divisions of a tree

If we were to divide up the main parts of a tree, we will find that each one is made up of even smaller sections:

  • Roots are made up of large roots, smaller roots, tiny roots called rootlets, and even tinier root hairs
  • Tree trunks are made up of different layers too, called bark, cambium, sap-wood and heart-wood
  • The crown of a tree is made up of large branches, smaller branches and twigs

Anatomy by the seasons

In addition, a tree has other parts which come and go throughout the year – changing by the seasons.
  • In the spring, you might find buds, blossoms or catkins
  • During the summer, you will see leaves, flowers, fruit and berries
  • Then, in the autumn, the leaves fall off and you find nuts and seeds
  • Finally, during winter, you find only buds – unless it is a conifer or evergreen tree. (In which case you will find leaves and cones nearly all the year round.)
But did you know, even these are made up of even smaller bits. For example, leaves are made up of stems, blades and veins, while flowers have petals, sepals, anthers, stamens and ovaries.

Under the microscope

If you were to take a little piece of a tree and look at it under a microscope – any piece of the tree, you would notice that they can all be broken down even further into teeny tiny parts called cells… and even tinier parts called organelles… all the way down into atoms!

And there are many different types of cells, organs and organelles. In fact, they even arrange themselves into structures inside the tree, each of which has its own special job to do.

For example, phloem and xylem tubes run all the way up and down the tree from its roots to its leaves carrying food and water. While chlroplasts can be found inside mesothelial cells in the leaves. These have a job called photosynthesis. This means they use sunshine to help the tree make energy.


Well, there we go! So let us recap this lesson:

Each tree is made up of lots of smaller parts, arranged by structure and function.
While the three main parts of a tree are its roots, trunk and crown, each of these can be divided down in smaller parts and even smaller parts – some of which change according to the seasons.
Remember too, that every large, small and tiny part of a tree has its own special role to play in helping the tree stay strong and healthy. And they all work together to make up the anatomy of a tree.

Tree Anatomy Nature Study

Your first task, is to download the tree anatomy resource so you can see all the different parts a tree.

Your next task, is to find a tree and see if you can notice all the little parts of the tree in real life.

  • Start by noticing its roots, trunk and crown. 
  • Then look at the roots again – can you see how the bigger roots divide into smaller roots?
  • Next, follow the trunk up and see how it splits into larger and smaller branches
  • Try to reach a twig and examine it carefully.
  • Can you see any buds or leaves… or anything else?
  • Look at a leaf and trace its stem and veins.
  • What else can you see on your tree?
Finally, I would like you to find a tree stump. Take a good look and see what you can see.. If you cannot find a tree stump, take a look at our tree stump tutorial to take a look inside.

Download your resource for this lesson

My Nature Nook

Hello, I’m Leila! Welcome to My Nature Nook. I help families learn about and connect with Nature. Learn more

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