Tree Dictionary: P-Q

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Other Names: Austrian Pine, Crimean Pine, Black Pine
Type: Hardwood
Range: Throughout Europe, United States, northwest Africa, Asia Minor
Appearance: Large, mature trees have fissured bark with broad, flat ridges that are light gray in color, contrasting with the dark brown, nearly black fissures. Scaly-plated, and pinkish on very old trees.
Physical Properties: Non-durable, moderately hard, rough, large branches produce large knots that weaken boards made from it.
Uses: Used for rough carpentry, general construction, furniture, shelter belts, Christmas trees.

PINE, EASTERN WHITE (Pinus strobus)

Other Names: White pine, northern white pine, northern pine, Weymouth pine, Quebec yellow, cork pine, and pumpkin pine.
Type: Softwood
Range: Grows in Canada, Mexico, and United States.
Appearance: Straight grained with a fine, uniform texture. Creamy white, pale yellow or light brown heartwood and creamy white sapwood. Yellows with age.
Physical Properties: Soft, weak, and light with low decay resistance and shock resistance. Very stable in service.
Working Properties: Works very easily with most machine or hand tools although turning is only fair. Carves quite well. Holds nails and screws well without the need to pre-drill. Glues, paints and varnishes well. Sealer recommended to prevent blotches when staining.
Uses: Used for numerous applications including carvings and sculpture, millwork, sash, doors, trim, paneling, cabinetry, furniture, toys, novelties, musical instrument components, caskets, boxes, match sticks, veneer, dowels, and patterns.


PINE, KAURI (Agathis spp.)

Other Names: Includes several species including New Zealand kauri, Queensland kauri, Fijian kauri, and East Indian kauri.
Type: Softwood
Range: Grows in Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Malayasia, and other Pacific islands.
Appearance: Straight grained, fine, silky texture, with pale to dark red-brown heartwood.
Physical Properties: Moderate in weight and shock resistance, high stiffness, and moderate to high strength (one species is claimed to be the strongest of the world’s softwoods). Stable in service.
Working Properties: Works well with hand and machine tools – good for turnery. Rates highly in screwing, nailing, gluing and finishing.
Uses: Used for vats, tanks, wooden machinery, boat building, building construction, joinery, cabinetry, butter boxes, churns, and pattern making. Cheaper grades used for plywood, boxes, and crates.


PINE, PARANA (Araucaria angustifolia)

Other Names: Brazilian pine.
Type: Softwood
Range: Grows in South America, primarily in the Brazilian state of Parana.
Appearance: Very attractive wood with straight grain, very close density, honey coloring, and very subdued growth rings.
Physical Properties: Similar in strength and hardness to United States yellow pines but has much better working qualities. Rates medium in bending and crushing strength and low in stiffness, shock resistance, and decay resistance. Stable in service but can distort significantly if not seasoned properly.
Working Properties: Glues and finishes without difficulty and holds nails and screws quite well.
Uses: Used for staircases, trim, sash, doors, cabinet framing, vehicle components, furniture, turnery, general construction, plywood veneers, and pulp.


PINE, PONDEROSA (Pinus ponderosa)

Other Names: Western yellow pine, California white pine, Oregon pine, bird’s eye pine, knotty pine, prickly pine, blackjack pine, and pitch pine.
Type: Softwood
Range: Grows mainly in western United States and southern British Columbia. Most widely distributed of pines in North America.
Appearance: Straight grained, sometimes with a bird’s eye pattern, and with a medium coarse texture. Typically has prominent dark resin duct lines and numerous small but sound knots. Light reddish brown heartwood and wide, nearly white to pale yellow sapwood.
Physical Properties: Light and soft with low strength and shock resistance, moderately low stiffness, low decay resistance and good stability in service.
Working Properties: Works fairly well with machine or hand tools although resin can gum-up cutters. Planes, turns, moulds, routs, bores, and mortises very well. Glues, nails and screws easily with a low tendency to split. Paints and finishes fairly well although a sealer coat may be needed to handle resin bleed-out, especially near knots.
Uses: Has many uses including boxes, crates, millwork, building construction, turnery (balusters, porch columns, dowels), caskets, furniture, patterns, trunks, toys, poles, posts, paneling, and plywood.


PINE, SCOTS (Pinus sylvestris)

Other Names: Scotch Pine, Riga Pine, Norway Pine, Mongolian Pine
Type: Hardwood
Range: Throughout Europe and into Siberia, New Zealand and North America. Popular Christmas tree in USA.
Appearance: Upper trunk and branches are thin, flaky and orange, while lower trunk has thick, scaly dark gray-brown bark. Mature trees possess long, bare, straight trunks, with rounded or flat-topped foliage at the top. Wood is pale brown to red-brown.
Physical Properties: Light, strong yet soft, elastic, durable, rich in resin, easily worked.
Uses: Used for general construction work, furniture, paper manufacture, boxes, fencing, telegraph poles. A good fuel but is somewhat smokey.



Other Names: Commercial grouping of several different species including longleaf, loblolly, slash, and shortleaf pine.
Type: Softwood
Range: Grows in southeastern and southern United States.
Appearance: Generally straight but uneven grained with a medium texture. Yellowish white sapwood and reddish brown, orange, or yellow heartwood.
Physical Properties: Moderately heavy and hard, stiff, moderately strong and shock resistant, moderately stable in service, and moderately decay resistant.
Working Properties: Works fairly well with machine or hand tools although resin in wood sometimes gums up cutting edges. Glues satisfactorily. Holds screws and nails well; pre-drilling sometimes required to prevent splitting. Paints, stains, and varnishes easily, but resin bleed-out can cause problems.
Uses: Used for structural timber, structural grade plywood, building construction, boxes, baskets, crates, cooperage, pallets, millwork, woodenware, novelties, boat building, and applications requiring hardness and good wearing qualities.


PINE, WESTERN WHITE (Pinus monticola)

Other Names: Idaho white pine, mountain pine, white pine, and silver pine.
Type: Softwood
Range: Grows in western United States and Canada.
Appearance: Straight and even grained with a medium to coarse texture. Cream colored to light reddish brown heartwood that darkens on exposure and yellowish white sapwood. Similar to easern white pine in appearance.
Physical Properties: Light, soft, moderately stiff, low strength and shock resistance, moderately low decay resistance, and good stability in service.
Working Properties: Turns, planes, and generally works very well with machine or hand tools. Glues satisfactorily. Holds nails and screws well without need to pre-drill. Paints and finishes fairly well but beware of blotchiness when staining.
Uses: Used for building construction, boxes, crates, matches, carvings, patterns, millwork, fixtures, caskets, paneling, and plywood.


POPLAR (Populus spp.)

Other Names: Includes European black poplar, Canadian poplar, balsam poplar, cottonwood, and various varieties of aspen.
Type: Hardwood
Range: Grows throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.
Appearance: Generally straight grained and “woolly” with a fine, even texture. Creamy-white to pale brown heartwood and sapwood.
Physical Properties: Most species are typically soft and light with low ratings for strength, stiffness, shock resistance, and decay resistance. Moderate movement in service.
Working Properties: Works easily with hand or machine tools but sharp edges recommended. Glues, screws and nails well. Staining can be patchy but paints and varnish are easily applied.
Uses: Used for furniture framing, interior joinery, toys, turnery, matches, crates, boxes, pallets, packing, plywood core stock, veneer, and pulpwood.


YELLOW-POPLAR (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Other Names: Tulip poplar, tulip tree, white-poplar.
Type: Hardwood
Range: Eastern United States
Appearance: Species has a fine and uniform grain. Sapwood if often very white while the heartwood is a light tan colour with a light green hue. Older heartwood around the core often shows darker colours, ranging from red to green to purple, and dark brown or black.
Physical Properties: Smooth, even grain, odorless and tasteless. Medium-low strength and stiffness ratings.
Working Properties: One of the easiest drying hardwoods. Machines well, easy to glue. Often has large growth-stresses within the log that can cause problems when working with it though.
Uses: Used for wooden tableware, musical instruments, construction framing, pallets, veneer. Ideal for edge-glued panels, drawers, shelves, blocking etc. Distinctive grain and colouring makes it great for interior t&g paneling, aswell as for painted trim and mouldings.
Note: Yellow-poplar is not related to the true poplars.