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  1. Tadeusz CaliŃski

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/0470011815.b2a13019

Encyclopedia of Biostatistics

Encyclopedia of Biostatistics

How to Cite

CaliŃski, T. 2005. Dendrogram. Encyclopedia of Biostatistics. 2.

Author Information

  1. University of Poznan, Poznan, Poland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


The term “dendrogram” is used in numerical taxonomy for any graphical drawing or diagram giving a treelike description of a taxonomic system. More generally, a dendrogram is a two-dimensional diagram representing a tree of relationships, whatever their nature.

The representation of a taxonomic system by a dendrogram is particularly suitable in connection with a cluster analysis applied to investigate the structure of the corresponding operational taxonomic units, such as individual patients or case histories initially used to construct disease classifications. This becomes apparent when it is desirable to interpret the results of the analysis in terms of a natural nonoverlapping taxonomic hierarchy. The usual basis for a cluster analysis is a resemblance matrix, its rows and columns referring to the operational taxonomic units, and its entries being the estimates of the resemblances between the corresponding units.

Examples of dendrograms and methods of their presentation are described in many textbooks on numerical taxonomy and cluster analysis.

Among the various clustering methods, the single linkage cluster analysis is particularly relevant to a dendrogram representation.


  • cluster analysis;
  • numerical taxonomy;
  • single linkage