Hardwoods or broadleaves are classed as angiosperms or plants with ovules enclosed for protection in an ovary. When fertilized, these ovules develop into seeds.
Broadleaves can be evergreen but most lose their leaves annually. These leaves can be either simple (single blades) or they can be compound with leaflets attached to a leaf stem. Although variable in shape all hardwood leaves have a distinct network of fine veins.
If you are confused with some of the terms used here, please use my definitions of terms used for tree identification.
Several Common Terms for this Major Tree Category
- HARDWOOD - Trees with broad, flat leaves as opposed to coniferous or needled trees. Wood hardness varies among the hardwood species, and some are actually softer than some softwoods.
- DECIDUOUS - perennial plants which are normally leafless for some time during the year.
- BROADLEAF - A tree with leaves that are broad, flat and thin and generally shed annually.
The Most Common Hardwoods
Identify single tree species known variously as hardwoods, deciduous, or broadleaf:
ash | aspen | beech | basswood | birch | black cherry | black walnut/butternut | buckeye | American chestnut | cottonwood | dogwood | elm | hackberry | hickory | holly | locust | magnolia | maple | oak | poplar | red alder | redbud | royal paulownia | sassafras | sweetgum | sycamore | tupelo | willow | yellow-poplar