Abstract : This paper gives an overview of computer graphics representations of trees commonly used for the rendering of complex scene of vegetation. Looking for the right compromise between realism and efficiency has lead researchers to consider various types of geometrical plant models with different types of complexity. To achieve realist plant model, a complex structure of plant with full details is generally considered. In contrast, to promote efficiency, other approaches summarize plant geometry with few primitives allowing rapid rendering. Finally, to find a good compromise, structures with adaptive complexity are defined. Theses different types of representations and the ways to use them are presented, classified and discussed. The proposed classification principles rely on the type of structural details used in the plants representations. Characterization of all these methods is completed with various additional criteria including rendering primitive type, distance validity, interactive possibilities, animation ability and lighting properties.