Suppose we are given a rooted tree $T$, and a set of vertices $M$ that separates the root of $T$ from its leaves. In other words, every path from the root of $T$ to a leaf contains a vertex in $M$. Is there a standard term for such a set $M$?

  • $\begingroup$ If you want to keep the arborial metaphor going, perhaps "complete pruning" would be appropriate. $\endgroup$ Mar 17, 2020 at 2:14
  • $\begingroup$ If this doesn't have a name yet, I recommend calling it a topping. $\endgroup$ Mar 17, 2020 at 2:21
  • $\begingroup$ How about "non-leaves"? $\endgroup$ Mar 21, 2020 at 0:25
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidG.Stork The set $M$ may contain leaves. For example, note that if we choose $M$ to be the set of all leaves, then it indeed satisfies the property that every path from the root to a leaf passes through $M$. $\endgroup$
    – Or Meir
    Mar 21, 2020 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ Define "through." $\endgroup$ Mar 21, 2020 at 13:46

1 Answer 1


Call the root node $r$. If you join each leaf node to a dummy sink node $t$, then $M$ would be an $(r,t)$ vertex separator, also known as vertex cut or separating set.

Even without the dummy node, $M$ is an $(r,\ell)$ vertex separator for each leaf node $\ell$.

  • $\begingroup$ ? What about honoring $M$ ?! $\endgroup$
    – Wlod AA
    Mar 17, 2020 at 3:54

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