Trees are commonly divided into two broad categories: hardwoods and softwoods, on the basis of their biology. In general, but with exceptions, broadleaved trees like the Live Oak, (Quercus virginiana) are considered hardwoods and coniferous trees such as Slash Pine, (Pinus elliotii) softwoods. However, these designations can be misleading, as broadleaf trees do not always have hard wood; for example, the Cuipo Tree (Cavanillesia platanifolia) a tropical broadleaf hardwood tree, has exceptionally light soft wood which can be used like balsa wood to make model airplanes. Conversely, the wood of certain conifers is as hard as some hardwoods. The distinction based upon the wood itself makes most sense, with categories of hard and soft types being based solely on wood density. In evaluating hardwoods vs softwoods for landscape use, hardwoods have three major of advantages: 1) they are stronger and more resistant to strong winds, decay and burrowing insects; 2) they are slower growing and will not become too large for a garden for many years and 3) they live longer. Because many hardwood trees are valuable timber trees, harvested from the wild and cultivated, hardwood tree removal from a garden because it has become too large will likely give the landowner a profit. In making a landscape selection among hardwood trees, there are ample examples of exotic and native trees. Among exotic hardwoods, the Jamaican Rain Tree (Brya ebenus), a semi-deciduous flowering tree, has wood used to make musical instruments; the Verawood Tree (Bulnesia arborea), an attractive flowering tree which has a very dense aromatic wood with multiple uses; the Ear Pod Tree (Enterolobium cyclocarpum), a large flowering tree with wood used for boat building and Lignum Vitae (Guaiacum officinale), an evergreen flowering tree with a prized wood used for inlays and turned objects. Examples of hardwoods native to the USA include Inkwood (Exothea paniculata) an evergreen foliage tree whose hard, heavy wood is used to make handicrafts and in construction; Black Ironwood (Krugiodendron ferreum) another evergreen foliage tree; its wood is the densest known and is used in cabinet making; Mahogony Tree (Sweitenia mahagoni) whose moderately hard, easily worked wood is highly esteemed and also is a popular Florida street tree and Wild Lime (Zanthoxylum fagara) a deciduous foliage tree which has a yellow wood used to make furniture.
Treeworld has a wide choice of hardwood trees, including those mentioned above, from which to select the best plants for landscaping any residential, commercial or public location.