Virtual Museum of Canada
Jardin botanique de Montréal 
Centre for Forest Research

From Root to Crown

What is a tree? Ask anyone, and they’ll have a different answer. A child will be fascinated by its mysteries; an adult might find it a source of inspiration, beauty or income; and a senior will see it as a witness to passing time. In a lecture he gave in 1943, Marie-Victorin said that for him a tree was a companion, a teacher, a masterpiece of Nature, and a mysterious, living and universal force that defied gravity.

A tree has many faces, depending on how we look at it. And what if we consider it from a scientific perspective? That’s what we’ll be doing here: explaining trees’ complex and magnificent diversity.

What are the parts of a tree? Most of the tree structures described in this section are illustrated by Canadian species, corresponding to the classic definition of a tree. However, the structures of arborescent trees, which we can call “trees” only if we use the more inclusive definition proposed by botanist Francis Hallé, are also presented in the “What is it?” sections.

From root to crown: How can we hope to explain such a complex topic? By breaking it down into small pieces, dividing a tree into its different parts in order to distinguish their attributes, functions and beauty.

Come along and explore a tree from root to crown!

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From Root to Crown Roots Roots Foliage