There can be structural or systematic damage done to a tree, both of which have differences in degrees. Structural damage may go as far as some bark being stripped from the tree, perhaps a limb being set on fire. Sometimes a tree can be so violently struck that it explodes.
In some cases, no visual damage is apparent, but the vascular system of the tree is damaged, and will not be noticeable for quite some time. Typically one might have to wait til the following summer to see if the tree is budding or not.
Larger trees containing more water are more likeley to be struck.
If the tree is dry or dead it may actually catch on fire if struck by lightning. This event has lead to many forest fires. If the tree is alive will suffer damage and may also catch on fire. If a wound is left on the tree it may be more easily exposed to disease and animals that will feed on the tree.
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