Common Names for Tropical Woods

      Woodworkers help compile an extensive list of common names for Central American wood species. February 15, 2009

I live in Honduras, and I am teaching English to a Honduran who works in a company that does a lot of woodworking, from kitchen cutting boards to furniture. Although I have a list of the Spanish and scientific names of the types of wood they use, it has been difficult to find accurate information about the common, English names for many of these species on the Internet. Thus, I am hoping that the people in this forum will be able to help by giving me the common, English names for as many of the following wood varieties as possible:

Asplenium Graveolens
Brosimum Alicastrum
Cedrela Odorata
Colophyllum Brasiliense
Cordia Alliodora
Cordia Megalantha
Dialium Guianense
Dussia Sp.
Gordonia Brandegeei
Guarea Grandifolia
Huertea Cubensis
Hyeronima Alchorneoides
Ilex Tectonica
Junglans Olanchana
Macrohasselita Macroterantha
Pinus Oocarpa
Pithecellobium Arboreum
Pouteria Izabalensis
Sloanea Liguvata
Swietenia Macrophylla
Symphonia Globulifera
Tapirira Guianensis
Terminalia Amazonia
Vatairea Lundellii
Vochysia Guatemalensis
Vochysia Guianensis

Although I have found some of these, I have still included the ones that I found, in case more specific information may be available. Thank you very much.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Cedrela Odorata = Spanish cedar
Hyeronima Alchorneoides = pilon
Swietenia Macrophylla = big leaf mahogany; American mahogany
Symphonia Globulifera = hog plum
Terminalia Amazonia = nargusta
Brosimum Alicastrum = Sande
Cordia Alliodora = white laurel
Cordia Megalantha = canalete?
Dialium Guianense = jutahy
Junglans Olanchana = tropical walnut
Pinus Oocarpa = ocote pine
Terminalia Amazonia = nargusta
Vatairea Lundellii = bitter angelim?
Vochysia Guatemalensis =yemeri
Vochysia Guianensis = kouali or yemeri

I would not necessarily say that the names are "common" as often the Spanish or other name is used in the trade as well.

From the original questioner:
Thank you for all of your responses. With the combination of what you have all said, I now have most of the names. I guess, from the professional/commercial perspective, the most important thing would be to have the most commonly used names for international trade, not necessarily the English names. Thus, don't hold back on any of these just because the common names may not be English.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Many of the woods you mention will have several different names in the trade depending on the country you are in. There is seldom only one name for almost every one of the species. This variation is not just a result of a different language. In addition you will find that even in one country there can be local names that vary. Then there are the creative people that invent names that will be used in the trade. There is nothing wrong or illegal about that practice. In short, do not be too religious about the names.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Lumber and Plywood

  • KnowledgeBase: Lumber & Plywood: Wood Identification

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2021 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article