The “Common Name” field typically lists the name(s) that everybody uses when talking about the wood. It can sometimes be vague, because there are some instances where two different species of wood are called by the same common name. (One example would be Philippine Mahogany.) This field may also include trade names that are used by wood dealers to help sell the wood by making it sound more attractive—usually by attaching certain positive-sounding buzzwords to the name, such as calling Jatoba Brazilian Cherry. For a more accurate naming scheme, it’s best to use a wood’s scientific name.
One note to take into consideration is that while I’ve tried to be as unbiased and subjective as possible, this website is compiled from an American perspective. Consequently, the common names listed will have an (unintentional) slant towards the United States. I’ve tried to list the most commonly used name(s), and have omitted most questionable alternative names unless I’ve specifically heard/seen that name used from multiple reliable sources. For example, one reference listed Cocobolo as “palo negro”—I’ve never heard anyone call it by that name, so I’ve chosen to spare the obscure names from cluttering the entry.
If you’re interested in getting all that makes The Wood Database unique distilled into a single, real-world resource, there’s the book that’s based on the website—the Amazon.com best-seller, WOOD! Identifying and Using Hundreds of Woods Worldwide. It contains many of the most popular articles found on this website, as well as hundreds of wood profiles—laid out with the same clarity and convenience of the website—packaged in a shop-friendly hardcover book.