This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
This wood is also known in the market as "white wood," "tulip wood," and sometimes as "basswood." The poplar, the whitewood or tulip tree, and the basswood are, however, three distinct kinds of trees, but the wood of each so nearly resembles that of the others as to be indistinguishable in the market and so it is sold under any one of these various names. The lumber yielded by the tulip tree and known commercially as whitewood is the best. This tree is a native of North America and grows freely all over the United States and Canada. There are a number of different varieties growing in various parts of the country. It is sometimes called "yellow poplar." The poplar or cottonwood is most common in the region of the Ohio basin, and grows in the western desert regions along the water courses. The tree is a large one and usually grows in small groups, not forming extensive forests. The basswood tree, also known as the linden, grows all over the eastern part of the United States and Canada, and in the middle west. The wood of all these trees is light, soft, free from knots, and of fine texture. In color it is white, or yellowish white, and frequently has a satiny luster. It can be so finished as to retain its natural appearance, but it is often stained to imitate some of the more costly woods, such as cherry. It is used extensively for cheap inside finish and fittings, such as shelving, and sometimes for doors, but it warps badly if it is not thoroughly seasoned, and will not stand exposure.