Tree Tattoo Meaning 

By on December 17, 2016

Throughout history, trees have been a recurring symbol for different cultures and people. Often, individual cultures will use a tree from their native land to represent nature, the wisdom of the earth or another meaning. If you are thinking about using a tree tattoo, find the right tree and design to match your ideal meaning.


The Tree Tattoo Meaning: Nature and Life

As one of the most obvious plants in the environment, a tree is a strong symbol of life. It takes years or decades for a tree to grow, so the tree can represent the strength of years or longevity. For this type of tattoo, individuals normally use large or thin branches with roots and minimal foliage. Leafy trees with their roots are also used to represent the maturity, strength and experience of a human being. They are often used to show that you have grown in life and are strong enough to handle any obstacles that the world throws at you.

The Tree of Life is one of the most iconic tree tattoos In the world. In this tattoo, the leaves and roots create a circular form that is a reminder of the cycle of life. The Tree of Life is a symbol of knowledge, abundance, wisdom forgiveness and eternity.


Alternative Meanings of the Tree Tattoo

In some spiritual traditions, the tree is give meanings related to strength or the permanence of our faith. In Buddhism, the Bodhi tree is famous for being the spot where the Buddha meditated and achieved enlightenment. Meanwhile, Celtic culture believed that trees were the ancestors of human beings. These trees were often chosen to represent ancestors, the circle of life, eternity and strength.

The Meanings of Certain Types of Trees

Obviously, each culture attaches their own significance to certain kinds of trees. As a general rule, the following list includes some of the most common meanings associated with specific kinds of trees.

Aspen Trees: In legends, you will read about the quivering of the aspen’s leaves. If you have seen an aspen in person, you will notice how the leaves seem to dance in the wind and make a lovely, musical sound. Long ago, the Druids went to groves of aspens to use them as auguries and watch them dance. The aspen was the symbol of overcoming or conquering something negative, although it can also represent mourning.


Cedar Trees: For thousands of years, the cedar has been revered. Its wood has been used to create sacred structures like temples and burned to help purify the body in religious rituals. Long ago, this tree was thought to be the home of the gods and a connection to higher realms.

Apple Trees: In the Bible, the apple is thought to be the forbidden fruit that the devil tempted Eve with. Apples can represent evil and temptation like this story, but the apple tree can also represent learning, intellect and knowledge.

White Pine Trees: In some Native American cultures, the white pine was a symbol of peaceful serenity.

Beech Trees: The beech is known for being an extremely sturdy, stable tree. It has gray bark, spreading branches and a short trunk. Often, this tree is used to represent the knowledge of ancestors or wisdom that has been lost. It can also mean knowledge, prosperity and patience.


Willow Trees: Willow trees are beautiful to look at, and it unsurprising that their lovely draped leaves have given risen to mystical symbols. At a basic level, the willow can represent love that was lost, healing or freedom. It can also mean inner vision, magic, mysticism or dreams.

Laurel Trees: This positive tree denotes victory, tenacity and heroics. When used negatively, the laurel tree can stand for deception.


Elm Trees: Traditionally, an elm tree is used to represent dignity and commitment.

Linden Trees: These trees signify love and a monogamous relationship. Because of this, they are often used in marriage announcements or marital tattoos.

Bay Trees: The bay tree was thought to connect humans with poetry and prophecies. Bay trees were once known to surround the temple of Apollo. Before humans could enter the temple, the bay trees cleansed them of negative thoughts and actions. The bay tree is extremely positive and symbolizes things like glory, awareness of past lives, rewards, psychic awareness, honor and buried memories.

Holly Trees: The holly tree has a spiritual connotation and is often used by religions. It is often used to indicate protection or faithfulness.

Maple Trees: The beautiful maple tree is used to symbolize harmony, balance and a sense of duty.

Ash Trees: Ash trees can grow over 200 feet in height and a large in diameter. Their root system is exceptional large to support this extreme height. As a result, the ash can be used to signify stability and strength. The growth of the ash can symbolize a higher perspective, expansion or a spiritual awareness.

Poplar Trees: The poplar tree often has negative connotations like burial, death and grief.

Yew Trees: The yew tree is often thought to be a symbol of rebirth and resurrection. At the same time, they can be a symbol of piety and sadness.

Birch Trees: Interestingly, the birch tree has a number of medicinal properties. Because of these medicinal properties, boughs were once placed above doorways to ward away bad luck and protect the home. On May Day, the birch boughs were decorated with rages to keep away evil. Even the traditional witch’s broom was made of birch twigs. This tree is associated with meanings like rebirth, cleansing, fresh beginnings and renewal.

Cypress Trees: In Greece and Rome, cypress trees were used to make urns or coffins for the dead. In Egypt, cypress was used to protect mummies. Meanwhile, Christians and Muslims planted cypress trees to keep away evil spirits. Other than symbolizing protection, the cypress can mean sorrow and death.

Dogwood Trees: Known for its lovely scent and hard wood, the dog wood symbolizes apathy or indifference.

Fig Trees: The fig tree has been used in religions around the world. In the Bible, Adam and Eve used fig leaves to hide the fact that they were nude. Fig leaves are often used in old statues and paintings to hide the genitals of the individual. Other than these other uses, the fig tree is used to represent overabundance and longevity.


Oak Trees: Long ago, the oak tree was honored by the ancient Celts. They thought that an oak would help them connect to the psychic realms. Today, the oak tree is a representation of endurance, bravery, durability, liberty and strength.

Hawthorn Trees: This tree is a symbol of happiness, hope and contentment.

Joshua Trees: Other than its uses in various religions, the Joshua tree is also a way to show a strong will or worship a particular deity.

Walnut Trees: In Native American cultures, the walnut tree represents a heightened focus and a sense of clarity.

Hazel Trees: Hazel trees typically mean concealment or wisdom. They are also used to represent the natural world and the feminine side of things.

For your tree tattoo to look its best, you have to find the right spot. Many tree tattoos are quite intricate, so they are often easier for the tattoo artist to draw on larger parts of the body. Popular spots include the chest, back, legs or upper arms.

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