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花花酱 LeetCode 236. Lowest Common Ancestor of a Binary Tree


Given a binary tree, find the lowest common ancestor (LCA) of two given nodes in the tree.

According to the definition of LCA on Wikipedia: “The lowest common ancestor is defined between two nodes p and q as the lowest node in T that has both p and q as descendants (where we allow a node to be a descendant of itself).”

Given the following binary tree:  root = [3,5,1,6,2,0,8,null,null,7,4]

       /              \
    ___5__          ___1__
   /      \        /      \
   6      _2       0       8
         /  \
         7   4

Example 1:

Input: root = [3,5,1,6,2,0,8,null,null,7,4], p = 5, q = 1
Output: 3
Explanation: The LCA of of nodes 5 and 1 is 3.

Example 2:

Input: root = [3,5,1,6,2,0,8,null,null,7,4], p = 5, q = 4
Output: 5
Explanation: The LCA of nodes 5 and 4 is 5, since a node can be a descendant of itself according to the LCA definition.


  • All of the nodes’ values will be unique.
  • p and q are different and both values will exist in the binary tree.

Solution 1: Recursion

Time complexity: O(n)

Space complexity: O(h)

For a given root, recursively call LCA(root.left, p, q) and LCA(root.right, p, q)

if both returns a valid node which means p, q are in different subtrees, then root will be their LCA.

if only one valid node returns, which means p, q are in the same subtree, return that valid node as their LCA.




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