The initial research period for information and data for wood worldwide has now exceeded 12 years. The Internet by far has been the key tool to do the research. Even this subdivides into many categories, including botanical databases, tree databases, wood databases, listings of tree or wood species in various countries, accession lists from xylariums and other listings of woods (both single and multiple species), wood listed by wholesale and retail vendors --- and the list goes on!

Another key source has been from fellow wood collectors, both the listing of woods in their collections (some over 6,000 species) and their extensive trading lists. Books on trees, others on wood have also been indispensible, although they are not digitally copyable and require more work. A lot has been found just by constant web browsing over 10 years --- and likely to continue in future years. This is a brief summary of the vast collection of thousands sources that were used.

This is a respectable start but likely one that can never be totally complete. Since the research took over 12 years to do, there are some websites that do not even exist and probably some books out of print. One of the strongest verifications TAXA has on the validity of woods and data includes having on hand actual samples of (so far) over 3,150 woods on which we can refer to any time as needed. This is so much more accurate, especially for color and grain than the poorer scans and photos sometimes seen on the Internet.

Bibliography for the
TAXA Wood Knowledge Base


Wood Databases

Inside Wood
The largest database I have ever come across specifically for wood and especially for the number of woody genera reported. Professionally done by renouned wood anatomist Dr. Elizabeth Wheeler and her collaborating crew. One of the key foundations for doing TAXA research.
Delta Database - Commercial Timbers
One of the best databases not just of wood but of recognized commercial timbers. Detailed descriptions of the trees and plants they come from with details of the wood itself. A valuable source for TAXA research.
Romeyn B. Hough's Encyclopedia of American Woods
An amazing encylopedia of 12 volumes of the actual veneers woods of the United States in true veeer. It leaves me wondering how this was ever done. Each wood has had veneers cut in radial, tangential and crosscut directions. Created in the early years of the prior century. These will be added later to the existing TAXA scans.
Prospect Database (wood)
Developed at the Oxford Forestry Institute over the past 15 years, the system records data for over 1550 species, 92 timber properties and 175 end-uses from over 1800 literature based references. More than 28,000 common and trade names are included.
Index Xylariorum - Edition 4
This publication lists all known institutions that have a wood collection/xylarium. It is therefore very valuable as a source to be able to know who can be contacted worldwide and how. It includes how many samples they have whether they can exchange samples and details on their interests and emphasies.

Tree Databases

Tree Guide
Regretfully, this database has been offline for some years. While it was online, it contained a lot of useful data and information on trees. It was especially useful in that it listed how many species of a genus grew as trees and how many trees there were in a family.
The Big List
This is a large database about trees put online by Virginia Tech. It is a relatively new discovery that should prove valuable for future TAXA research.
World Agroforestry Centre (AFT) Database
a species reference and selection guide for agroforestry trees. In the context of the database, agroforestry trees are those that are deliberately grown.
World Dictionary of Trees
Menu items for 5 continents and areas are listed but only linked to North American Trees. Last updated November, 2004.
Westonbirt Arboretum
Major tree groups, Champion trees, rare trees

(Vascular) Plant Databases

GRIN Taxonomy for Plants
One of the original databases on the Internet. Used extensively especially during early years of research.
Global Biodiversity Information Facility
The largest compilation of references to all types of living matter. The URL given is for the area that is specifically for the kingdom of Plants. Found so useful especially for the huge plant species lists that compliment the huge listings of wood genera in the Inside Wood Database.
Plants Database(USDA)
provides standardized information about the vascular plants amd other forms of plants. Includes many trees.
ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System
Authoritative taxonomic information on plants and other life forms of North America and the world. One of the most trustworthy places to find presently accepted botanical names
Species 2000
A "federation" of database organisations working closely with users, taxonomists and sponsoring agencies.
The Flowering Gateway
A database that strives to include all vascular plants. Exceptional in that it lists by the various taxonomy systems (eg. Cronquist, Takhtajan, Thorne, etc.)
Texas A&M University: Vascular Plant Image Gallery>
A large collection of plant genera and species alphabetically with pictures of most plants.
New York Botanical Gardens Catalogue
One of the most used online databases online for TAXA research. Extensive information on plants, trees included. Their website states that they have completed cataloging and imaging its approximately 92,000 vascular plant type specimens.
Exotic Wood Website (Hobbithouse)
A website with thousands of wood photos and scans collected from throughout the Internet. Has other sections, also, of wood toxicity, lumber prices, common name vs. botanical name cross reference.
Center For Wood Anatomy Research
This branch of the Forest Products Lab has long offered data sheets on woods but a look shows a lot of growth of multipe data areas on wood, much of which must have been developed recently. Definitely an asset for future TAXA research.
Woodworker's Website Association WoodSampler
This section has many well known woods listed by common name with links to large images of each wood.


Books on Wood

A Guide to Useful Woods of the World - James Flynn, Charles Holder - 1-892529-15-7
A guide of 279 well known and used woods. Full data pages on each with photos and Microphotos. 588 pages.
The Real Wood Bible - by Nick Gibbs - ISBN 1-555407-033-3
A British book with data pages and profuse colour photos of 100 species of wood.

Books on Trees, Srubs, Vines and Plants

The Plant Book - By D.J. Mabberly - ISBN978-0-521-82071-4
The most comprehensive reference on plants I have ever seen. So essential to the TAXA research that I wore the cover off version I. Over 24,000 entries
The Firefly Encyclopedia of Trees & Shrubs - compiled by Firefly - ISBN 1-55209-603-1
The largest book I have seen on trees and shrubs with 8,500 different plants described with 928 pages in large coffee table format and copious inclusion of photos. Since almost all woods come from trees, shrubs and vines (lianes), this is a treasure trove of information on woody species.
A field Guide to Trees and Shrubs - by Ggeorge Petrides. ISBN 0-395-17579--8
A general identification book on trees, shrubs and wood vines of North America. Contains much information on the woods of these plants.
National Audubon Society Field Guide to Trees, Eastern Region
- by Alfred Knopf - ISBN - 0-394-50760-6
364 species of trees described with 993 full colour images
Trees of Ontario - by Linda Kershaw - ISBN - 1-55105-274-1
213 species of trees in 31 botanical families with copious photos.
Hawthorns and Medlars - by James R. Phipps - ISBN - 0-88192-591-8
Likely the best book available on this topic by a Hawthorn researcher and authority.

Xylariums and Private Wood Collections

Forest Products Lab, Madison, Wisconsin
The world's largest wood collection. The searchable Madison wood collection (MADw) has 49,322 samples, and the Samuel J. Record collection (SJRw) numbers about 55,000 samples.
Tervuren Xylarium Wood Collection, Belgium
This is considered the second largest wood collection in the world. When I emailed the curator, he confirmed that, if a botanical species is listed online in their database --- indeed they have a sample of that wood! This let the TAXA database grow by 11,300 new wood species, the largest single growth of woody species. Tervuren has 48,114 specimens representing 16,245 species.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Has one of the larger wood collections of the world. [42,500 specimens representing almost 3000 genera
Dehradun Forest Research Institute, India
A very large forestry research center with a large wood collection
Bailey-Wetmore Wood Collection, Harvard University
Has 33,000 specimens of wood
Inside Wood Website, North Carolina State University
This institute based this extensive wood database much on the orignal wood collection that I have been told has now been relocated to a museum.
Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Tsukuba, Japan
A xylarium of 20,500 specimens. Many photos included on website.
Nationaal Herbarium Nederland, Utrecht, The Netherlands
has a searchable collection of 34,750 samples and 6392 images
Oxford Forestry Institute Xylarium (FHOw)
24,343 samples, 10,678 species, 2,719 genera

Private Wood Collections

The existance of two organizations in the world has made it far easier for collecting wood samples from around the world to be practical and enjoyable. Because of this, it has made it possible over the years to assemble wood collections that rival the size of some institutional xylariums. The largest private collection is over 7,000 samples with a handful of other private collections exceeding over 6,000 samples and species.

The first (in which I have a life membership) is the http:International Wood Collectors Society that has members in over 30 countries. There is a huge wealth of wood species available and corporately through the many members, a huge knowledge base of wood. The degree of success in collecting wood species samples and information on the research I have been involved with would be much smaller without this organization.

One of the easiest and conclusive way of determining if a plant has wood or is woody is if a person has a sample of the species. Much thanks go out to members of IWCS who have extensive wood collections and have shared copies of both their collection listings and trading lists --- including the following collectors and sample suppliers:

  • Alan Curtis (U.S.: Oregon)
  • Allen Rodebeck(now deceased)
  • Anton Suhadolc
  • Bary James (South Africa)
  • Colin Martin (Australia)
  • David Persram (Guyana)
  • Dennis Wilson (U.S.: Michigan
  • Ed Carter (U.S.)
  • Henk Bakker (Netherlands)
  • Dieter Becker (Germany)
  • Jerry Zipprich (U.S.: Illinois)
  • Karl Stout (Argentina)
  • Lionel Daniels (U.K.)
  • Manuel Soler (Spain)
  • Carlton McLendon, Inc. (U.S.: Georgia)
  • Rejean Drouin (Canada: Quebec
  • Tim Heggaton (U.S.: Florida)

The other organization is NEHOSOC. This wood collecting organization is headquartered in the Netherlands and uses Dutch language. It is a well disciplined organization dedicated to academic collecting. There is a small core of collectors that have memberships in both organizations.

Dr. David Etheridge
With much gratitude, I accepted his generous gift of a lifetime of collecting when he decided in his early 90's to retire from wood collecting. I was in receipt of 309 lb. in 17 large boxes from Victoria, B.C. Acquisition of his collection brought the Mudry collection from around 2,150 species to over 2,900. Because of Dr. Etheridges travels around the world for many decades, I was able acquire wood species that would not likely be available from IWCS trading members.