A tight relation between series--parallel graphs and bipartite distance hereditary graphs
Bandelt and Mulder’s structural characterization of bipartite distance hereditary graphs asserts that such graphs can be built inductively starting from a single vertex and by repeatedly adding either pendant vertices or twins (i.e., vertices with the same neighborhood as an existing one). Dirac and Duffin’s structural characterization of 2–connected series–parallel graphs asserts that such graphs can be built inductively starting from a single edge by adding either edges in series or in parallel. In this paper we give an elementary proof that the two constructions are the same construction when bipartite graphs are viewed as the fundamental graphs of a graphic matroid. We then apply the result to re-prove known results concerning bipartite distance hereditary graphs and series–parallel graphs and to provide a new class of polynomially-solvable instances for the integer multi-commodity flow of maximum value.