Trees are amazing plants. They have evolved or many years to occupy certain environments, take in water from the ground, energy from the sun, and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and make both oxygen and wood. Trees do this while also providing habitat for wildlife, places for us to recreate, and a filter for our watersheds.
Trees can be classified into one of two classes, hardwoods or softwoods. The two classes are scientifically know and angiosperms and gymnosperms. Hardwoods are angiosperms and have a covering over the seed (think acorns and apples). Softwoods on the other hand, are classified as angiosperms and the seed is not fully enclosed in a covering (think pine and cedar cones).
The two classes do not have anything to do with the hardness of the wood found inside of the tree. The best example of this is balsa wood, which comes from a balsa tree (Ochroma pyramidale). Balsa trees are classified as gymnosperms or hardwoods, yet the wood is both light and low in stiffness and strength.
(To be continued)