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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


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About Common Name Database

Center For Wood Anatomy Research

Regis B. Miller
Center for Wood Anatomy Research
Forest Products Laboratory

Center For Wood Anatomy Research

Jugo Ilic
Forestry and Forest Products



The information in this comprehensive database will be of great value to users of wood and wood products and others who rely on scientific names as a key to reliable information on wood properties. The database contains approximately 30,000 unique botanical names and 130,000 common names including the corresponding botanical family name, synonyms, geographic origin, and links to technical data sheets if one is available. Many species, particularly those from the tropical countries are known by several local or common names and some unrelated species also share the same common name. The database will help to resolve such problems and provide more reliable information on the woods.


Explanatory Notes of Fields


Common, Trade, and Vernacular Names

The common, trade, and vernacular names were taken from the literature. They are listed alphabetically within each species. Accents and other marks are not used to avoid problems with searching.


Scientific Names

The scientific names (including the authors) are listed alphabetically. Names were verified in accordance with recent monographs, publications, and databases. All verifications have been recorded, but are not searchable or reported online.


While the botanical names are essential for each species, the nomenclature is always in the process of revision. Thus, it can be difficult to reach a consensus as to the correct scientific name for some species. A timber can have a valid name and several botanical names, which are equivalent or synonyms. No attempt has been made to obtain a completely accurate botanical inventory of all synonyms.


The family names generally follow Croquist (1981). For the legumes, we have used the terms Leguminosae-Caes., Leguminosae-Mim., and Leguminosae-Papil.


Countries of origin are recorded for each common name. When the literature listed multiple countries for a common name, we added a record for each occurrence of a different country. Thus, there may be up to five records for the same common and scientific name because there is five differ countries reported.


Abbreviations for broad geographic regions are recorded as follows: AF (Africa), AS (Asia), AS-Temp (Asia-Temperate), AS-Trop (Asia-Tropical), AU (Australia), EU (Europe), NA (North America), PI (Pacific Islands), and SA (South America , including Mexico and Central America).

Tech Sheets

In the output a column is available for Tech Sheets. When we have a technical data sheet providing information on properties and uses available for this particular species or species group, a link is provided. Commercially important species of North American hardwoods and softwoods and worldwide tropical woods are available.