The dendrites are tapered, richly branched, protrusions from the nerve cell body. The number of dendrites varies from 0 to maybe 20. The dendrites rarely grow longer than a few mm. Their task is to collect nervous information from the environment with the help of connected synaptic contacts and convey this information to the initial axon segment.

The dendrites are usually equipped with a myriad of thin, short (1-5 micrometer long) protrusions, so-called dendritic spines.