Poplar is a hardwood, although not as hard as Oak. Its main uses include doors, exterior and interior trim, siding, mouldings, millwork, paneling, furniture, kitchen cabinets, and musical instruments.
The U. S. Forest Service ranks Poplar as stronger and denser than Pine. They state that Poplar has less tendency to develop hairline cracks that can let in moisture, so it will wear even better. They also rank Poplar as resistive to cupping and checking (weathering issues), although it lacks the special decay-resistant qualities of Cedar, Cypress, or Redwood.
The Hardwood Manufacturers Association states that Poplar has excellent strength and stability and takes and holds paint, enamel, and stain exceptionally well. It's easier for us to produce a smooth surface with Poplar, so it will be easier for you to paint. Indeed, if you're painting, Poplar is our first choice for interior use. However, some feel it's not as good for staining, due to natural color variations within a given board.