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Picea abies

The Taxonomy of the plant Kingdom classifies trees as either Angiosperm (encased seeds) or Gymnosperm (naked seeds). These sub-divisions are each sub-divided into Genus (a subgroup of organisms that have many common characteristics such as oaks or pines) then Species which can be thought of as a specific kind of tree - but this too can be further sub-divided into Varieties for example.

An accurate way to name a tree is to give the Latin names for both its Genus and Species (e.g. Picea abies is the name given to Norway Spruce - the original Christmas Tree).

Softwoods include Evergreen cone-bearing trees or Conifers. They have needle-like leaves and have seeds borne ‘naked’ - and so are classified as Gymnosperms.

Examples growing in the UK include: Pines, Firs, Larch, and Spruce. Yew is also a Softwood even though it is quite hard - the distinction between Hardwood and Softwood is not determined by how hard or soft they are.