A deciduous hardwood. Other common names are yellow poplar and tulip poplar. Average height: over 100 feet. Average trunk diameter: 3 to 6 feet. The 1992 National Register of Big Trees identifies today`s largest yellow poplar. It is found in Bedford, Virginia and is 146 feet tall with a canopy of 125 feet spread and a trunk circumference of 374 inches. Poplars grow from southern New England southward to Florida and westward to Missouri. It is the state tree of Indiana and Kentucky.

The yellow poplar grows quickly into a tall straight tree. It is found alone in open, rich, moist soil. Because of its fast maturity the lumber from poplar is lightweight and soft for a hardwood. But it is strong, durable and seasons well resisting warpage once it is dried. Because the trunk has no limbs or branches, except at the very top, the wood has no knots. It is straight grained and evenly textured making it rewarding to work with. It cuts and sands well, keeps its edge and resists splitting. The sapwood is cream color; the heartwood is pale brown with occasional yellow-green streaks. The wood stains well and can easily be made to resemble walnut or maple. Because it takes paint exceptionally well, it is often painted.

An abundant and stable wood, poplar use dates back to the East Coast Native American populations. Their long dugout canoes were carved from the trunks of the tall yellow poplar. Early American settlers used it in furniture and for interior applications. It was, and still is, used for boatbuilding. Recently poplar has been used in the manufacture of plywood. Due to its affordability, it was, and still is, used in a multitude of inexpensive wood products such as toys, broom handles, boxes, crates, baskets, food containers, popsicle sticks and tongue depressors. Before they were made of metal and plastic, Venetian blinds were made of poplar. Poplar is used as the interior components of fine furniture and cabinetry. Importantly, it has recently become a satisfactory, fine, hardwood alternative to clear pine for interior millwork: built-in furniture, cabinets, shelving and moldings, including door jambs and cornices. Due to the huge export market for poplar and its increased popularity in the domestic market, it is less available than previously, but the price remains very attractive.

Deciduous. Height 100 to 120 feet. Trunk diameter 3 to 4 feet. The tallest pecan is now recorded in Cocke County, Tennessee. It is 143 feet high with a trunk circumference of 231 inches. Distribution of the pecan ranges from Indiana, Illinois and Iowa in the North, southward throughout the Mississippi Valley to Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas in the South. It is the state tree of Texas. Pecan is in the walnut family; its closest relative is the shagbark hickory (Carya ovata). Prized even more for its nut crop than for its timber, the pecan is thought to be the only tree cultivated in orchards by the pre-Colonial Native Americans. Because it was an important food staple, the Algonquins chose not to rely solely on the nut harvest from the wild forest pecan tree. This remains true with growers, today.

Prior to the ice age pecan spanned all of Europe and the Mediterranean countries as well as North America. Today it is an American original, native only to the United States. It is most commonly found in the flood-plains of the Mississippi River and other low-lying wet terrain. The pecan tree has a short trunk with many forked branches, making long length lumber hard to obtain. Because of the nature of the tree, pecan lumber is also somewhat limited in the upper grades as well. The interestingly patterned wood is pale reddish-brown in color with occasional dark, pecky streaks. It is open pored, close grained and hard. It is very heavy, strong and tough but is also elastic and quite shock-resistant. It is hard to dry with big shrinkage; but once properly seasoned it is stable and reliable.

Pecan is enjoying a newfound popularity for use in furniture, paneling and architectural detail, as it lends itself well to authentic looking early American ("Americana" style) designs. It is more attractively priced than the other woods used for this purpose, oak and maple. It may not have the topmost grades of oak and maple and it is somewhat difficult to machine (carbide-tipped equipment is suggested) but it is available as veneer and as plywood, is good looking and is in a good price range. Pecan is most often used for fine furniture manufacture, wall paneling, architectural millwork and decorative elements. It is used for tool and implement handles and for flooring. The lower grades are used in pallets.

"New World" mahogany. Tropical. Wide buttressed trunk base growing straight up 60 to 85 feet high before branching out to form the rain forest canopy. Distribution from Mexico south through Central America to Brazil and Peru. "New World" mahogany is one of the two true mahoganies. The other one is Khaya ivorensis (African Mahogany). The third true mahogany, Swietenia mahogany (Cuban mahogany) is not available due to its scarcity and to trade restrictions. Philippine mahogany is not a true mahogany. It is of the genus Shorea and is sold in the industry as "Lauan".

The heavyweight of all woods, mahogany is one of the most valuable timber trees. The wood of "New World" mahogany varies in color from light red or pale tan to a rich dark red or deep golden brown, depending on country of origin. It is generally straight grained but is prized for its figures which include stripe, roe, curly, blister, fiddleback, and mottle. It is extremely strong, hard, stable and decay resistant. African mahogany is coarser in texture and has less strength than its South American cousin. It has a tendency to warp but seasons rapidly and is stable after it dries. Its color ranges from pale pink to dark reddish brown.

Mahogany rates among the top twelve furniture woods in the world. Due to the immense size of the tree it is readily available in large widths, thicknesses and lengths of lumber, and as veneer. Its rich warm color and mellow texture, which finishes, stains and polishes to a beautiful natural luster, makes it the first choice for premier cabinetry and architectural grade paneling and interiors. Popular in the `50`s, mahogany is making a comeback due to the new attraction to the "red" woods. Mahogany works well with very sharp hand and machine tools. Its outstanding technical qualities makes it the wood of choice for pattern making. Mahogany is not cheap but the price varies widely depending on grade, color, figures, and place of origin. Besides its use for fine jewelry, decorative veneers, interiors and pattern making mahogany is used in shipbuilding and for fine boat interiors. It is also used for art objects and other precision woodwork such as printer`s blocks, pianos, musical instruments and instrument cases.