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Arboreal Abode

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Some characters live in trees. Not in a treehouse, but actually inside a hollow tree trunk. Usually, there will be a doorway in one side of the trunk and a substantial space inside. More elaborate arboreal abodes may have front steps, windows, back doors, and even chimneys visible from the outside. The nicest ones have several fully-furnished rooms inside.

This usually leads to a lot of Fridge Logic if one starts to seriously think about it. How is what's left inside the hollowed-out trunk sturdy enough to support the rest of the tree? How can you fit an entire two-bedroom apartment on the inside of a tree? How are there windows in the upper leaves that should logically only have the thin ends of branches behind them? Don't expect any of these questions to be answered.

The use of this trope often shows that the characters are woodsy or in a nature-based setting. For the trope to be in effect the tree actually has to be converted in some manner to serve as a house. A squirrel living in a hole in a tree doesn't count because that's just what squirrels do. A squirrel living in a tree trunk with a door and windows on it and rooms in it does count.

If you can play through one of those in a video game, then it's a Tree Trunk Tour as well. See also Mushroom House, Treetop Town and Treehouse of Fun.


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  • The Keebler elves (mascot of Keebler, an American cookie and cracker maker) live inside a tree, which is used as part of the company logo.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Made in Abyss: The Seeker Camp is built into the trunk of an enormous tree growing from the underside of the Second Layer. Rumor has it that the tree is big enough to hold the camp and all its amenities because its roots extend into the seafloor outside the Abyss to draw nutrients from the ocean.

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix: In Asterix and the Missing Scroll, the great druid Archaeopterix’s house is build inside a gigantic oak tree. Complete with water mill.
  • ElfQuest: The Wolfriders live in a "Father Tree" that's subdivided into several homes. Fully justified because their tree-shapers can keep a tree alive and well while sculpting it into the required shape.
  • The Outsiders, introduced in Jimmy Olsen's comic books, live in "Habitat", a complete city within gigantic trees.
  • The Smurfs: In "The Wild Smurf", the Smurfs build an arboreal abode to hide themselves in when Gargamel is able to find the Smurf Village after a fire had wiped out a good portion of the Smurf Forest. After Gargamel had been taken into custody by the local authorities and the Smurfs are able to return to their village, Wild Smurf remains living in the empty abode with the squirrels.

    Comic Strips 
  • Pogo: Many characters live inside hollowed out trees.

    Fan Works 
  • A Dragon in Shining Armour: The city of Evergrowth is built into living trees.
  • What a Strange Little Colt: The logistics of this are discussed. Gabriel asks her how Twilight's tree house stays alive, since the walls are too thin to transport the nutrients and water the tree needs, and is told that spells are used to keep it healthy.
  • Winter Troupe Digital Adventure: The insect Digimon of Beetle Land live primarily in hollowed-out trees.
  • A Witch In Broad Daylight:
    • Twilight's house is a hollowed out tree hidden deep in the forest, with windows and doors carved into the trunk.
    • The Outlaw Town of Oaken Field has many buildings carved into trees are the size of miniature skyscrapers.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live Action 
  • Avatar: The Home Tree is honeycombed with natural spaces where the Na'vi live. It's a huge tree, comparable to a skyscraper but much wider. The weak points in its structural integrity are a plot point.
  • Into the Woods: Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother lives inside a hollowed-out tree, with all of the furniture you would expect to find in a normal cottage.
  • Tall Tale: Paul Bunyan is living in a Californian Sequoia forest. (In this version, he's a very large guy but not a giant as he was in the original tall tales.) He's converted the trunk of a single felled Sequoia into a spacious house.

  • The Berenstain Bears live in a beautifully furnished tree, complete with windows in the crown.
  • Books of the Raksura: The "mountain-trees" are colossal magical trees, hundreds or thousands of yards high, whose branches and canopies support entire ecosystems, including forests of smaller trees. To create colonies, the Draconic Humanoid Raksura implant a mountain-tree with a magical seed that lets them shape the tree's growth and form huge networks of rooms within the trunk. The downside of this is that a colony tree will slowly die if its seed is removed.
  • Bored of the Rings: The elves of Lornadoon live inside hollowed-out dead trees.
  • The Colour of Magic has the useless wizard Rincewind captured by classical Graecian tree-spirits, the Dryads. They have resolved the "we live in a tree but the tree is still green and flourishes, indeed we and the tree need each other to thrive" paradox by being multi-dimensional — indeed their Tree shares many attributes of a TARDIS of Doctor Who fame, by being far larger on the inside than on the outside. The Tree of the Dryads and the great forest tree they seemingly inhabit may not occupy exactly the same dimension of space-time...
  • Hair Made Of Starlight: An "Arabian Nights" Days-esque adaptation of Rapunzel, the heroine Saffron lives at the top of a giant tree in a desert instead of a tower in the forest.
  • In Desert And Wilderness: The protagonists spend some time living in a naturally hollowed-out trunk of a baobab tree. It's treated fairly realistically — they have to clear layers of compost and get out various previous inhabitants, such as insects and reptiles, but the trunk still provides better shelter than tents. Also, baobabs are huge.
  • The Integral Trees has an example of this In Space: a neutron star orbited by a ring-shaped cloud of breathable gas, where huge, multi-kilometer-long "integral trees" orbited within and provided shelter, nourishment, and raw materials for humans who colonized the system.
  • My Side of the Mountain: Sam makes his home in a tree. It's probably one of the more realistic examples you're likely to find because the occupancy is exactly one pre-teen boy and a few small personal items. Even adding his pet falcon is pushing it. By the time of the sequel, set a couple of years later, Sam has grown enough that he can no longer fit inside the tree and has long-since moved into a larger dwelling he made from lumber his family brought up to the mountain in a failed attempt to start a farm.
  • Lumbanico The Cubic Planet: Aralia is initially mistaken for a fairy because her house is a hollowed out oak in the middle of a forest. The door is a curtain in one side of the trunk, and the one room is furnished with one table, three footstools, one bed and one cupboard. Around her oak, she grows beds of hydrangeas, marguerites, dahlias and roses.
  • Spellsinger: The turtle wizard Clothahump's home is inside a massive oak tree that's larger on the inside than the outside, though it's really expensive to cast that spell because it causes inflation.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: Trees often serve as dwelling places in Fantasyland. The three general kinds are straightforward treehouses in the branches, dwellings built inside the trunk (these tend to be within very large trees, and to be Bigger on the Inside in the bargain), and underground dwellings dug amidst the tree's roots.
  • Winnie the Pooh: Many of the characters live in houses built into large trees, Piglet and Pooh himself most notably.
  • Xandri Corelel: The Psittacans' hatchery is in a hollowed-out tree trunk.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Kingdom Adventure: Pokum and Keena live together with their also-young housemates Garbo and Lolly in Pops' tree home. It's heavily implied that all homes in Lumia are trees, and even Lumia Castle looks like a giant hollowed-out tree.
  • Mister Rogers' Neighborhood of Make Believe: X the Owl lived behind a door on the trunk of a tree. (Henrietta Pussycat lived in the same tree, but in a small house attached to a branch, so that doesn't count.)
  • Star Trek: Picard: The Qowat Milat sisterhood lives inside a solitary, gigantic tree which towers above all the others within the forest next to North Station; it's an idyllic setting for a monastery. The rooms, which are fully-furnished, have been carved into the tree trunk and they're quite spacious, but there are no doors or windows, just curtains which separate one area from another. (The planet Vashti has two suns, so it never gets cold there, and the nuns are such badass warriors that they don't worry about intruders.)
  • Sesame Tree, the Northern Irish co-production of Sesame Street, Potto the Monster and Hilda the Hare's home was in the base of the eponymous large tree. Archie the Squirrel and his mother were their upstairs neighbours.

  • Cool Kids Table: One pops up in the game Small Magic. The town where Janus' castle is located is built atop the roots of a giant tree, and the tree itself has been transformed into the royal palace.

    Tabletop Games 
  • City of 7 Seraphs: The Grand Chapel of Now is a megaflora tree that has long since been hollowed out and carved into a living gallery of Divinities and Eternals.
  • The Dragon Tree Spell Book: The fifth level spell Willamon's Wood Works causes trees to form hollows inside themselves that can act as rooms, furnishings and stairs.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In the Dragon magazine #73 module "Forest of Doom," the Drow have hollowed out part of a gigantic tree and built a fortress inside of it.
    • The Horde boxed set. In the forests of the Ama Basin can be found Panjuis, the Pixie Fortress. It consists of three giant trees grown together and hollowed out for occupation by the inhabitants.
    • Module UK1 Beyond the Crystal Cavern. A group of 5 leprechauns lives inside a giant hollow oak tree, and two dryads each live inside two other oak trees.
    • 2nd Edition Forgotten Realms Lands of Intrigue boxed set, "Book One: Tethyr".
      • The elven forest city of Suldanessellar consists of more than a dozen large trees that were magically grown in a way that caused them to have large hollow interiors that the elves turned into homes.
      • The town of Vineshade has many halfling homes made out of hollowed-out trees.
      • The town of Myth Dyrallis has one large central tree and a number of regular trees which have been hollowed out to act as buildings and homes for the elves who live there. Again, magic was used to insure that the trees weren't harmed by this.
    • Dungeon magazine:
      • Issue #17 adventure "The Hunt in Great Allindel". The elven villages in Great Allindel forest are made up of hollowed out trees with all the comforts of home inside.
      • Issue #49 adventure "Lenny O'Brien's Pot O'Gold". The leprechaun Lenny O'Brien hollows out the trunk of an old willow tree and turns it into a home, complete with a kitchen, a bedroom, and a den.
      • Issue #77 adventure "Visiting Tylwyth". The elf woodcarver Tylwyth lives inside a huge, old oak tree that has been hollowed out and made into an elven house. The tree has windows set in the tree trunk.
    • White Dwarf magazine #77 adventure "A Secret Wish". The Durmast Oak was planted by the Vala Yavanna before the beginning of the First Age. It was later hollowed out by a group of hobbits, whose descendants live inside it.
    • Polyhedron magazine #49, article "The For-Rest Inn". The title inn is a giant hollowed-out oak tree in Ravenloft, the Living City. It is also the home of the innkeeper, the dryad Thistledew Vine.
  • Encounter Critical supplement Asteroid 1618: In the Domed City, a number of elves live inside a giant staroak tree.
  • Godforsaken: Long ago, in the Forest of Rotting Castles in Korak-Mar, impossibly tall trees grew to the sky. Although no one alive ever saw one of these trees, they must have been a thousand feet or more in height and hundreds of feet across. All that remains are the stumps of eighty-seven of these colossal trees, each of which had been made into a fortress by the folk that burrowed, burnt and cut into them.
  • Invisible Sun: Charringrest is a massive tree that rises impossibly tall into the sky and is big enough around to comfortably house the entire Fearce family inside it.
  • Legendary Lives: Elven communities live inside the hollowed-out trunks of giant trees.
  • Numenera: The murdens of Tourbillion have hollowed out several trees to serve as simple homes.
  • Traveller Classic supplement Alien Module 8 — Darrians: Secret of the Star Trigger: When the Darrians were first brought to their new planet, they lived inside large hollowed out trees. The trees grew nutritious fruits for them to eat.

  • The Tempest: Ariel is found by the sorcerer Prospero inside a tree, though whether the spirit lives there or is merely caught is sometimes debated.

  • Tamagotchi: Kuchipatchi and his family reside in a house fashioned from a big tree. The building has a hot spring at the top, since Patchi Forest (where the house is located) is known for hot springs.

    Video Games 
  • Dark Parables: The eleventh installment focuses on a location called the Dire Tree, an entire kingdom inside a hollow tree.
  • Diner Dash Adventures: The seventh location is an inn made of a hollowed out giant tree.
  • Dragon Quest Monsters and Dragon Quest Monsters 2: As the names imply, the rival kingdoms of GreatTree and GreatLog are entire kingdoms (well, they're more like large towns) built into the trunks of enormous trees seemingly floating in endless seas.
  • Dusty Revenge have the boss fight against Amelia Swift, set on a tree containing multiple rooms, connected by platforms. You spend most of the fight chasing Amelia as you make your way to the top, and after defeating her you find a hidden entrance on the bark leading to the next stage, an underground city.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy 4 has Greenwood Village, where all the buildings are hollowed out trees, including Anna's house.
  • Ever Run: The Everbloom Tree is hollowed out at its base, in which the Guardian stables are located.
  • Final Fantasy IX: The citizens of Cleyra live in a giant tree that is protected by a sandstorm.
  • Legend (1994) have a gigantic Tree Demon boss at the end of the swamp stage. Defeat it and the tree then rises up... to reveal a doorway built deeper in it's trunk. And the wizard imprisoned in said trunk will exit the door, thank you for rescuing him, and give you a map.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • The Longest Journey Saga: Abnaxus lives in a hollowed-out tree trunk.
  • Mario Party 6: The board Towering Treetop takes place around a large, sentient tree, and wooden houses are located around the top; the paths go through the branches and canopies of the large tree, as well as a few other erected trunks. One of the upper paths can be crossed during day thanks to an open pink flower that acts as a trampoline, while another upper path is impassable due to a purple flower being closed (thus only allowing access to a nearby lower path); the flowers swap states during night, with the pink flower closing and only allowing access to a lower path, and the purple one opening and giving a bounce to its upper path. Other features include a flower house from which a player can ride a fluff for free if they land onto the Event Space at the front, a beehive whose swarm will sting the player (making them lose coins) if they land on any of the surrounding Event Spaces, a spot from which the player can make the big tree sneeze and make all players located in the upper parts fall down due to the resulting shake, and most notably the presence of Woody (during day) and Evil Woody (during night), both of Mario Party 3 fame.
  • Myst III: Exile: Although only seen from a distance, the age of Narayan's Lattice Tree looks like one of these, except it's an entire city. Ditto for the age of Tay in the sequel, Riven.
  • All the houses in Paleo Pines are built into trees. In honour of this, people celebrate budding days on the anniversary of when they moved in.
  • Pink Panther: Hokus Pokus Pink: The wizard Strangeblood's hut is inside a large, hollow tree.
  • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire: You can create a Secret Base, which you can decorate and send to other players. One of the location types available for this are large trees.
  • Purple Moon: The home base in Secret Paths in the Forest can manifest as a hollowed-out and decorated old tree. In this example, the hollow tree is actually dead, making more sense than most — if you ignore the whole "shapeshifting to be a log cabin or a treehouse depending on the player's preference" thing.
  • Sailor Moon: Another Story has the Sailor Senshi splitting up and going around the world. Sailor Jupiter visits the exotic, mysterious land of Canada where people live inside trees.
  • Touhou Project: The side materials reveal that fairies live inside trees, flowers, and any parts of nature. These fairy houses are invisible to humans, who see them as normal trees.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 1 has Frontier Village, home of the Nopon. It's a massive monstrosity of a hollow tree that borders on Layered Metropolis, with its 9 levels connected by stairs and rope bridges. Oh, it also has a small lake on its top and a massive floating sea above it.

    Web Animation 
  • Brackenwood: Bitey lives inside a hollow tree, in pretty primitive lodgings. The witch Lemony Wee lives in a somewhat more urbane pink tower on top of a tree.
  • Happy Tree Friends: The titular characters seem to split their time between living in trees and living in normal houses.
  • Thrilling Intent: Ashe grew up a house carved into the trunk of a large tree.

  • Daisy Owl: Daisy and her family live in one, which probably isn't up to code.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: The elf-like Anwyn of Gillitie Wood use magic to shape trees into structural supports for their houses. This is mainly shown in the side comic "Annie in the Forest".
  • Housepets!: Jessica the Opposum lives in one. Well, initially she lives in a hole in a tree with a door and minimal furnishings, but after she's reluctantly made the star of a reality show called Flip That Den, it becomes a fully furnished three-story tower with attic bedroom, solar panels and a rainwater tank. It's so nice that she decides she can't possibly live in it when all the other woodland animals are living in ordinary holes, so it becomes a community home.
  • Kevin & Kell:
    • Most characters live in large hollowed-out trees. This is often lampshaded and played with (for example, the homeowners' association complaining that the Dewclaws have changed their colour scheme without permission when it's autumn; the association all live in evergreens).
    • One very notable example is the tree Lindesfarne and Fenton live in, as Tree had achieved sentience through an intelligence ray.
    • A plan of the Dewclaws' tree has been shown in the strip. In addition to showing how all the rooms fit together, it also confirms that the living wood in the outer trunk has been preserved.
  • Sandra and Woo: Woo's girlfriend Lily lives in a tree. This is not unexpected, given that she's a raccoon, but her hole in the tree has woven rugs and a pool table.
  • Yokoka's Quest: Kalliv and his family are shown (as mice) living in a hollowed out tree during his flashback.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs: Slappy Squirrel lives in a tree, with electricity so that she can watch TV in there.
  • Bugs Bunny: Bugs lives in a tree in at least one cartoon, "The Case of the Missing Hare".
  • Chip 'n Dale: The titular chipmunks are often shown living in furnished houses built within trees.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Sector V has their Home Base in a tree; they all have regular houses to go back to but they spend all day there anyway.
  • The Fox and the Crow: Crawford Crow has a home in a tree with an elevator to ground level.
  • Genius Genie: Most of the characters live in a tree that's been transformed into a three-story apartment complex, with each floor having a different tenant.
  • Harvey Beaks: Harvey lives in a two-story house partially built out of a tree. Fee and Foo live high up in the branches. Most of the other houses are conventionally constructed, though Randl's business (which might also be his living quarters) is entirely inside a tree (and is a good bit Bigger on the Inside).
  • Jellabies: Pepper's home is in a hollowed-out tree trunk.
  • My Little Pony:
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Houses built directly into living trees are something of a recurring theme.
      • During the first four seasons, Twilight Sparkle lives in a tree with room not only for living quarters but for an entire library. It's a fairly classic example, with habitable space throughout its height and numerous windows poking through the canopy. It's destroyed in Twilight's Kingdom Part II, prompting her to move into a castle made of crystal instead, though even that looks somewhat treelike and came from a tree.
      • Zecora also lives inside of a tree, though hers has fewer books and more cauldrons and medicinal herbs. Only the bottom of the trunk is hollowed out to live in, though, and the canopy and branches are unmodified.
      • Mage Meadowbrook likewise lived inside a large tree in the Hayseed Swamp, and her descendant Cattail still does. It's a fairly atypical Arboreal Abode, as — besides consisting of a tangled mass of vines and stems rather than having a single trunk — it has no windows, but only a small door at its base. When Twilight and Fluttershy visit in "A Health of Information", Twilight remarks that "anyone who lives in a tree is okay by me", in a callback to her own tree-based house.
      • The hippogriffs of Mount Aris live in houses built into enormous living trees, with doors at their bases, windows spiraling up their trunks and large, glass-sided chambers nested in the canopies, their walls growing directly from the trunks. The effect is that their city looks as much like a lush, open forest as it does like a typical settlement.
      • At the end of "Uprooted", the students build a treehouse out of the wrecked remnants of the Tree of Harmony that is sparked by their friendship into transforming into a living, crystalline treehouse reminiscent of Twilight's old library in appearance.
    • My Little Pony: A New Generation: The unicorns of Bridlewood live in houses built directly within the trunks of the massive trees of their forest.
  • Peter Rabbit: Peter lives in one. Mr. Tod's lair is a variation, as it's a house built into the roots of a tree.
  • The Raccoons: The "Raccoondominium" is one of these. Justified somewhat by one of the specials, which states that the trees are big enough for this sort of thing. In the later episodes, we find out that Bentley and Lisa's home is one as well. However, interior wise, it's much closer to a suburban home than the hollowed-out look of the 'Raccoondominium'. (It even has a garage!)
  • The Simpsons: Parodied In "Saddlesore Galactica", where horse racing jockeys are revealed to actually be subterranean elf-like creatures who live in "a fiberglass tree".
  • The Smurfs (1981): Attempted in "Skyscraper Smurfs" when Architect and Handy build a smurfominium inside a hollowed-out tree. After a fire destroyed it, the Smurfs preferred living in their village over living in a tree together.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Sandy the squirrel lives inside a tree, which grows inside an underwater dome.