Recursion in c Programming

  • When function is called within the same function, it is known as recursion in C.
  • In programming, there might be a situation where a function needs to invoke itself.
  • The C language supports recursive feature, i.e. a function is called repetitively by itself. The recursion can be used directly or indirectly.
  • The direct recursion function calls to itself till the condition is true. In indirect recursion, a function calls another function, then the called function calls the calling function.

Types of Recursion

There are two types of Recursion

  • Direct recursion
  • Indirect recursion


    #include <stdio.h>
    int x,s;
    void main(int);
    void main(x)
          printf("\n x = %d s = %d",x,s);


    x = 1 s = 1
    x = 2 s = 3
    x = 3 s = 6
    x = 4 s= 10
    x = 5 s= 15 

Disadvantages of Recursion

  • It consumes more storage space the recursive calls along with automatic variables are stored on the stack.
  • The computer may run out of memory if the recursive calls are not checked.
  • It is not more efficient in terms of speed and execution time.
  • According to some computer professionals, recursion does not offer any concrete advantage over non-recursive procedures/functions.
  • Recursive solution is always logical and it is very difficult to trace.(debug and understand).
  • In recursive we must have an if statement somewhere to force the function to return without the recursive call being executed, otherwise the function will never return.
  • Recursion takes a lot of stack space, usually not considerable when the program is small and running on a PC.
  • Recursion uses more processor time.
  • Recursion is not advocated when the problem can be through iteration.
  • Recursion may be treated as a software tool to be applied carefully and selectively.