Poplar is one of the most common utility hardwoods in the United States. Though the wood is commonly referred to simply as “Poplar,” it is technically not in the Populus genus itself, (the genus also includes many species of Cottonwood and Aspen), but is instead in the Liriodendron genus, which is Latin for “lily tree.” The flowers of this tree look similar to tulips, hence the common alternate name: Tulip Poplar.
Poplar is a hardwood with a relatively straight grain and a fine, even texture. Color varies significantly from creamy-white to green, to brown, to purple. Poplar is relatively soft and light with low ratings for strength and shock resistance. Due to variations in color and density, it does not stain consistently; however, it is an excellent choice for a painted finish.