Hardwood is wood from non-monocot angiosperm trees. These are usually broad-leaved; in temperate and boreal latitudes they are mostly deciduous, but in tropics and subtropics mostly evergreen. Hardwood contrasts with softwood (which comes from conifer trees). Hardwoods are not necessarily harder than softwoods. In both groups there is an enormous variation in actual wood hardness, with the range in density in hardwoods completely including that of softwoods; some hardwoods (e.g.balsa) are softer than most softwoods, while yew is an example of a hard softwood. The hardest hardwoods are much harder than any softwood. There are about a hundred times as many hardwoods as softwoods.
Hardwoods are employed in a large range of applications including: construction, furniture, flooring, cooking, utensils, etc. Solid hardwood joinery tends to be expensive compared to softwood. In the past, tropical hardwoods were easily available but the supply of some species such as Burma teak and mahogany is now becoming restricted due to over-exploitation. Cheaper "hardwood" doors, for instance, now consist of a thin veneer bonded to a core of softwood, plywood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF). Hardwoods can also be used in a variety of objects but mainly for furniture or musical instruments because of their density. Different species of hardwood lend themselves to different end uses or construction processes. This is due to the variety of characteristics apparent in different timbers including, density, grain, pore size, growth pattern, wood fibre pattern, flexibility and ability to be steam bent. For example, the interlocked grain of Red elm. makes it suitable for the making of chair seats where the driving in of legs and other components can cause splitting in other woods.
As their name suggests, the wood from these trees is generally harder than softwoods. Hardwoods reproduce by flowers, and have broad leaves. Many lose their leaves every autumn and are dormant in the winter.