Define a BST as: all left descendants <= n < all right descendants.

Then is it possible to build two binary search trees with different structures but the same exact values? Duplicate values are allowed.


2 Answers 2


Yes, there can be various BSTs consisting of the same numbers. Let's take the numbers 1, 2, 3.

If the order you add them to the tree is 1, 2, 3 then the tree would have 1 as root, 2 as it's right node and 3 as 2's right node.

If the order is 2, 1, 3 then the tree would have 2 as the root, 1 as the left node and 3 as the right node.

If the order is 3, 1, 2 then the tree would have 3 as the root, 1 as the left node and 2 as the right node of 1. etc.

  • 1
    And even with two numbers 1 and 2, you can have either 1 or 2 as the root.
    – gnasher729
    Sep 5, 2016 at 20:52

Yes. The structure of the BST Is based on the order jn which the elements are added. So, if you use the same elements, but populate in a different order, you will get a different tree.

  • 1
    I'm having a hard time visualizing it. Can you give an example? Sep 5, 2016 at 15:33
  • 1
    @JoshPearce Sure, imagine a tree from (1,2,3). It's either a balanced tree, or a chain. If you have 4 numbers, then you can have 2 different balanced trees with the same values (pick one of the 2 middle elements as the root)
    – Ordous
    Sep 5, 2016 at 16:03
  • That depends on the insertion algorithm obviously.
    – gnasher729
    Sep 5, 2016 at 20:53

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