Tree Tattoos: What They Mean and 16 of Our Faves

A tattoo on his arm Tattoos & Piercings

Tree tattoos can be deeply meaningful, as the tree is a symbol of many different things in life. Trees represent longevity and endurance, as the flora is deeply rooted and constantly working to grow and thrive. They may also be a symbol of strength, as trees tend to stand resolute for dozens—and sometimes hundreds—of years. Trees are elements of creation, too, as they can provide things like apples, oranges, and olives.

Trees have also been said to represent androgyny and balance of self, as the reaching branches and light leaves symbolize femininity while the heavy trunk represents masculinity. Different types of trees may also have their own symbolism. Oak, for example, is an image of power and courage, while palm trees represent peace and light. For some, trees are also inherently religious and a part of creation: In the Bible, the Tree of Knowledge is in the Garden of Eden and represents wisdom and temptation.

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Whether you’re interested in a tree tattoo as a symbol of something greater or just as a personal, meaningful image, there are so many design ideas out there. Keep reading for 16 tree tattoos to inspire your next piece of ink.

Whimsical Tree Tattoo

For a whimsical tree that feels slightly realistic yet slightly cartoon-like, choose bright colors and omit harsh black outlines. Add white detailing to give the design a sense of dimension and brightness as well.

Fairness Tree Tattoo

Due to their stoic and lasting nature, trees can sometimes be seen as symbols of truth and fairness. Highlight that meaning further with the inclusion of Lady Justice’s scales in the design.

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Bare Tree Tattoo

A tree doesn’t have to have a full bushel of leaves. If you want something a bit more “bare bones,” try getting just the skeleton of the tree—kind of what it would look like in the winter.

Outline Tree Tattoo

Trees make for great finger tattoos, as they can easily be shrunken down to fit the small area. Stick to a simple outline tree to avoid an overwhelming design.

Camping Tree Tattoo

Rather than a design that’s all tree, try creating a small vignette, like this camping tattoo. While the tree is the largest element and thus the focal point, the other elements tell a visual story that also catches the eye.

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Blackwork Tree Tattoo

For a tree tattoo that makes an impact without being too complicated, stick with a small blackwork design. The ink separates the leaves to create a bit of detail in the design as well.

Crescent Moon Tree Tattoo

For some people, trees represent Mother Nature and a sense of self. Play up this feminine and personal feeling with a similarly symbolic image, like a crescent moon.

Multi-Elemental Tree Tattoo

A unique and fun way to add detail to an otherwise simple tree design is to vary textures in the trunk and keep the leaves solid black. Add additional elements, like a heart, to personalize it even more.

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Armband Tree Tattoo

The taller trees grow, the longer their trunks are. This inherent height translates well to armband tattoos, as the wrapped part acts as the trunk.

Branch Heart Tree Tattoo

Tree branches twist and blow in the wind, so why not use their flexibility to your design advantage? This tattoo creates a heart out of the tree’s branches, but you can fashion just about any shape you want.

Branch Tree Tattoo

Rather than putting a whole tree in your tattoo design, make a branch the main element. This allows you to add other details, like birds or initials, to personalize the ink.

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Space Tree Tattoo

Trees represent being connected to nature, which contrasts with the space theme in this tattoo. Rather than looking odd, though, the tree helps to ground a design that’s otherwise up in space.

Finger Tree Tattoo

Because trees are notorious for growing tall and in a number of directions, they make for great finger tattoos. Here, the fingers act as the roots of the tree as the branches reach up toward the wrist.

Circular Detailing Tree Tattoo

To highlight the natural elements and shapes of trees, try adding circular detailing. This tattoo places the tree in the foreground and a circle in the back, playing up the movement in the plant.

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Bottled Tree Tattoo

Trees are great additions to whatever design you may be dreaming up. Here, although the overall bottle design is the focal point, the tree is large enough within it that it draws the eye.

Ocean Scene Tree Tattoo

Palm trees are a classic symbol of vacations and relaxation. Highlight that idea with an ocean vignette in the background of your tattoo.

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