Softwood, a term the lumber and woodworking industries commonly use, is a generic word for needle-bearing trees or conifers, from the Pinales order. One of the most common conifers is the pine tree. There are several varieties of pines, some of which are more suitable for cutting into lumber than others.
Douglas fir, a softwood, is a common wood used in framing homes. While it is technically a softwood, this type of fir is harder and stronger than many hardwoods. It commonly grows with other conifers, including other firs, spruces and pines.
Bald cypress is a softwood that is also deciduous. While most other needle-bearing softwood trees do not shed their foliage to enter a dormant period during cold weather, the bald cypress follows the pattern of the hardwoods.
Due to the fact that softwood is easy to work, it is the most common type of wood for human use. It is a prime material used in building. It also has a place in furniture manufacturing and millwork. Loggers harvest softwood that is not appropriate for use in lumber to create pulp for paper production. Mills also chip these inferior trees and use them in the production of MDF, a construction material available in 4-foot by 8-foot sheets.