American
Forest Trees

BY
HENRY H. GIBSON

 

The commercial timbers of this country are divided into two classes, hardwoods and softwoods. The division is for convenience, and is sanctioned by custom, but it is not based on the actual hardness and softness of the different woods. The division has, however, a scientific basis founded on the mechanical structures of the two classes of woods, and there is little disagreement among either those who use forest products or manufacture them, or those who investigate the actual structure of the woods themselves, as to which belong in the hardwood and which in the softwood class.

Softwoods—The needleleaf species, represented by pines, hemlocks, firs, cedars, cypresses, spruces, larches, sequoias, and yews, are softwoods. The classification of evergreens as softwoods is erroneous, because all softwoods are not evergreen, and all evergreens are not softwoods. Larches and the southern cypress shed their leaves yearly. Most other softwoods drop only a portion of their foliage each season, and enough is always on the branches to make them evergreen. Softwoods are commonly called conebearers, and that description......................

 

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