Science Focus - the home of BBC Science Focus Magazine
What makes hardwood hard and softwood soft? © Getty Images

What makes hardwood hard and softwood soft?

Subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine and get 6 issues for just £9.99

Here we get to the roots of what the difference between hardwood and softwood trees is.

Asked by: Anonymous

Advertisement

Trees that produce thick resin, instead of runny sap, need much wider phloem vessels (vein-like structures) to transport it along the trunk. This leaves less space for the cellulose and lignin that provide the strength of the wood. In Northern Europe, evergreen conifers are softwood and so the term is used for all evergreen conifers, even though lots of tropical ‘softwood’ conifers actually have quite hard wood.


Advertisement

Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.

Authors

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content