The k-trees are exactly the maximal graphs with a given treewidth, graphs to which no more edges can be added without increasing their treewidth. The graphs that have treewidth at most k are exactly the subgraphs of k-trees, and for this reason they are called partial k-trees.
Certain k-trees with k ≥ 3 are also the graphs formed by the edges and vertices of stacked polytopes, polytopes formed by starting from a simplex and then repeatedly gluing simplices onto the faces of the polytope; this gluing process mimics the construction of k-trees by adding vertices to a clique. Every stacked polytope forms a k-tree in this way, but not every k-tree comes from a stacked polytope: a k-tree is the graph of a stacked polytope if and only if no three (k + 1)-vertex cliques have k vertices in common.
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