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Scots Pine, a typical and well-known softwood Softwood is
wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. ...

wood
from
gymnosperm The gymnosperms ( lit. revealed seeds) are a group of seed-producing plants that includes conifers Conifers are a group of cone-bearing seed plants, a subset of gymnosperms. Scientifically, they make up the division Pinophyta (), also ...
trees such as
conifer Conifers are a group of conifer cone, cone-bearing Spermatophyte, seed plants, a subset of gymnosperms. Scientifically, they make up the phylum, division Pinophyta (), also known as Coniferophyta () or Coniferae. The division contains a single ex ...
s. The term is opposed to
hardwood is a popular hardwood Hardwood is wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the Plant stem, stems and roots of trees and other woody plants. It is an organic materiala natural composite material, composite of cellulos ...

hardwood
, which is the wood from
angiosperm Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angiosperm" is derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ...

angiosperm
trees.


Characteristics

Softwood is
wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. ...

wood
from
gymnosperm The gymnosperms ( lit. revealed seeds) are a group of seed-producing plants that includes conifers Conifers are a group of cone-bearing seed plants, a subset of gymnosperms. Scientifically, they make up the division Pinophyta (), also ...
trees such as
pine A pine is any conifer Conifers are a group of conifer cone, cone-bearing Spermatophyte, seed plants, a subset of gymnosperms. Scientifically, they make up the phylum, division Pinophyta (), also known as Coniferophyta () or Coniferae. The divi ...

pine
s and
spruce A spruce is a tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including ...

spruce
s. Softwoods are not necessarily softer than hardwoods. In both groups there is an enormous variation in actual wood hardness, the range of density in hardwoods completely including that of softwoods. Some hardwoods (e.g.
balsa ''Ochroma pyramidale'', commonly known as the balsa tree, is a large, fast-growing tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. ...

balsa
) are softer than most softwoods, while the hardest hardwoods are much harder than any softwood. The woods of
longleaf pine The longleaf pine (''Pinus palustris'') is a pine A pine is any Pinophyta, conifer in the genus ''Pinus'' () of the family (biology), family Pinaceae. ''Pinus'' is the sole genus in the subfamily Pinoideae. The Plant List compiled by the Royal ...
,
Douglas fir The Douglas fir (''Pseudotsuga menziesii'') is an evergreen In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who ...
, and
yew Yew is a common name given to various species of trees. The name is most prominently given to any of various coniferous Conifers are a group of cone-bearing seed plants The spermatophytes (; ), also known as phanerogams (taxon Phanerogamae ...

yew
are much harder in the mechanical sense than several hardwoods. Softwoods are generally most used by the construction industry and are also used to produce
paper pulp Pulp is a lignocellulosic fibrous material prepared by chemically or mechanically separating cellulose fiber Cellulose fibers () are fibers made with ethers or esters of cellulose, which can be obtained from the bark, wood or leaves of plants, ...
, and card products. In many of these applications, there is a constant need for density and thickness monitoring and gamma-ray sensors have shown good performance in this case. Certain species of softwood are more resistant to insect attack from
woodworm A woodworm is the wood-eating larva of many species of beetle. It is also a generic description given to the infestation of a wooden item (normally part of a dwelling or the furniture in it) by these larvae. Types of woodworm Woodboring beetles ...
, as certain insects prefer damp hardwood.


Examples of softwood trees and uses

*
Douglas fir The Douglas fir (''Pseudotsuga menziesii'') is an evergreen In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who ...
-
joinery Joinery may refer to: * Woodworking joints, techniques and processes for connecting pieces of wood or lumber to produce more complex items * Joiner, someone who builds things by joining pieces of wood See also

* Join (disambiguation) * Joiner ...
, doors and heavy construction *
Eastern white pine ''Pinus strobus'', commonly denominated the eastern white pine, northern white pine, white pine, Weymouth pine (British), and soft pine is a large pine A pine is any Pinophyta, conifer in the genus ''Pinus'' () of the family (biology), family ...
- furniture *
European spruce ''Picea abies'', the Norway spruce or European spruce, is a species of spruce native to Northern Europe, Northern, Central Europe, Central and Eastern Europe. It has branchlets that typically hang downwards, and the largest cones of any spruce, l ...
- used throughout construction, panelling and cladding *
Larch Larches are deciduous In the fields of horticulture Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturists grow flowers, fruits and nuts, v ...

Larch
- used for cladding and boats *
Lodgepole pine ''Pinus contorta'', with the common names lodgepole pine and shore pine, and also known as twisted pine, and contorta pine, is a common tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), tr ...
- roofing, flooring and in making chipboard and
particle board Particle board, also known as chipboard, is an engineered wood product manufactured from wood chips or jute-stick chips and a synthetic resin In polymer chemistry and materials science The interdisciplinary field of materials science, ...
*
Monterey pine ''Pinus radiata'', the Monterey pine, insignis pine or radiata pine, is a species of pine A pine is any Pinophyta, conifer in the genus ''Pinus'' () of the family (biology), family Pinaceae. ''Pinus'' is the sole genus in the subfamily Pinoi ...
* Parana pine - stair treads and joinery *
Scots pine ''Pinus sylvestris'', the Scots pine (UK), Scotch pine (US) or Baltic pine, is a species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chem ...
- construction industry, mostly for interior work *
Sitka spruce ''Picea sitchensis'', the Sitka spruce, is a large, conifer Conifers are a group of conifer cone, cone-bearing Spermatophyte, seed plants, a subset of gymnosperms. Scientifically, they make up the phylum, division Pinophyta (), also known a ...

Sitka spruce
- *
Southern yellow pine In ecology and forestry, yellow pine refers to a number of pinophyta, conifer species that tend to grow in similar plant communities and yield similar strong wood. In the Western United States, yellow pine refers to Jeffrey pine or Pinus ponderos ...
- joinery, flooring and decking *
Western hemlock ''Tsuga heterophylla'', the western hemlock or western hemlock-spruce, is a species of hemlock Hemlock may refer to: Plants *Several poisonous plants in the family Apiaceae **''Cicuta'' (water hemlock) **''Conium'', four species, of which ''ma ...
- doors, joinery and furniture *
Western red cedar ''Thuja plicata'', commonly called western red cedar or Pacific red cedar, giant arborvitae or western arborvitae, or just cedar, giant cedar, or shinglewood, is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification ...

Western red cedar
(or red cedar) - furniture, decking,
cladding Cladding is an outer layer of material covering another. It may refer to the following: *Cladding (boiler), the layer of insulation and outer wrapping around a boiler shell *Cladding (construction), materials applied to the exterior of buildings * ...
, and
roof shingles Roof shingles are a roof A roof is the top covering of a building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory. Buildings come in a variety of si ...
*
Yew Yew is a common name given to various species of trees. The name is most prominently given to any of various coniferous Conifers are a group of cone-bearing seed plants The spermatophytes (; ), also known as phanerogams (taxon Phanerogamae ...
- interior and exterior furniture e.g. chairs, gate posts and wood turning


Applications

Softwood is the source of about 80% of the world's production of
timber Lumber, also known as timber, is wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, sup ...

timber
,United Nations with traditional centres of production being the
Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countries/states refer to slightly different combinations of countries in the general area surrounding the Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the ...
(including
Scandinavia Scandinavia; Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Province * Sami District, Gambia * Sami, Cephalonia, a municipality in Greece * Sami (ancient city), in Elis, Greece * Sa ...

Scandinavia
and
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
),
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
and China. Softwood is typically used in construction as structural carcassing timber, as well as finishing timber.


See also

*
List of woods This is a list of wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the Plant stem, stems and roots of trees and other woody plants. It is an organic materiala natural composite material, composite of cellulose fibers that are str ...
* United States – Canada softwood lumber dispute *
Hardwood is a popular hardwood Hardwood is wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the Plant stem, stems and roots of trees and other woody plants. It is an organic materiala natural composite material, composite of cellulos ...

Hardwood
*
Janka hardness test The Janka hardness test (; ), created by Austrian-born American researcher Gabriel Janka (1864–1932), measures the resistance of a sample of wood to denting and wear. It measures the force required to embed an steel ball halfway into a sample of ...

Janka hardness test
*
Brinell scale The Brinell scale characterizes the indentation hardness of materials through the scale of penetration of an indenter, loaded on a material test-piece. It is one of several definitions of hardness in materials science. History Proposed by Swede ...


References

{{Portal bar, Trees Forestry Timber industry Wood products Woodworking
softwood Scots Pine, a typical and well-known softwood Softwood is wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or t ...