Features that separate Hardwoods from Softwoods:
Hardwood fundmentally comes from trees that lose their leaves in the winter, eg. Oak, Ash & Beech. These types of trees are slower growing (80-100 years to maturity) and provide a dense timber. They are more popular than other types due to giving off a much steadier and longer lasting flame as they burn at a slower rate compared to Softwood logs.
In contrast Softwood grows much faster maturing in 25-30 years and the timber is therefore less dense. This type of wood comes from Pine, Larch, Spruce, Douglas, Fir etc. Softwoods are not necessaarily softer than hardwoods. The main visual difference in soft timbers compared to hard timbers are that they are usually lighter in colour.