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A hypertree (blue vertices and yellow hyperedges) and its host tree (red)

In mathematics, a hypergraph H is called a hypertree if it admits a host graph T such that T is a tree. In other words, H is a hypertree if there exists a tree T such that every hyperedge of H is the set of vertices of a connected subtree of T.[1] Hypertrees have also been called arboreal hypergraphs[2] or tree hypergraphs.[3]

Every tree T is itself a hypertree: T itself can be used as the host graph, and every edge of T is a subtree of this host graph. Therefore, hypertrees may be seen as a generalization of the notion of a tree for hypergraphs.[4] They include the connected Berge-acyclic hypergraphs, which have also been used as a (different) generalization of trees for hypergraphs.


Every hypertree has the Helly property (2-Helly property): if a subset S of its hyperedges has the property that every two hyperedges in S have a nonempty intersection, then S itself has a nonempty intersection (a vertex that belongs to all hyperedges in S).[5]

By results of Duchet, Flament and Slater[6] hypertrees may be equivalently characterized in the following ways.

It is possible to recognize hypertrees (as duals of alpha-acyclic hypergraphs) in linear time.[9] The exact cover problem (finding a set of non-overlapping hyperedges that covers all the vertices) is solvable in polynomial time for hypertrees but remains NP-complete for alpha-acyclic hypergraphs.[10]

See also[edit]