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ExploreTree started as a winning entry in the Processing Time code jam, written by Madeleine Price Ball and Chris Ball. It takes descriptions of trees in Newick format — the tree used by the applet above is the phylogenetic tree of life — and renders them in a zooming interface. It's written using the nifty visualization language Processing.

Tree data

You can download the tree in Newick format. If you'd like to use it for another purpose, please consider it as licensed under CC-by-SA.

The tree was manually created by me, mostly using information from Wikipedia. If you find a well known organism missing from the tree please let me know! (It should have Wikipedia traffic of more than 200 hits/day.) I'll add you to my thank you list. Also tell me if there's a corrected or updated phylogeny I should use!

Source code

ExploreTree is free software which you can distribute under the GNU GPLv2 or (at your option) any later version. You can download the source at github.

To run it, check out the exploretree source into your Processing sketchbook directory, and then run the sketch. If you'd like to use a different tree, just replace data/treeoflife.tree with your own. Although this version of the program has no distance information, this information is graphed if available - for an example, a version using a tree downloaded from the The Interactive Tree of Life is available here.


The current version of ExploreTree was written by Madeleine Price Ball. Please send feedback to: