Should the names of species of wood be capitalized when used within a sentence?


  • Bocote
  • Cocobolo

Which is correct:

The pool cue's forearm was made from Cocobolo wood.


The pool cue's forearm was made from cocobolo wood.

  • There's no need to do so. The pool cue was made of cocobolo. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 6 '18 at 15:24
  • This is largely a matter of style. Adhere to the discipline of your editor, publication, or organization, or in the absence of a house style, adopt a style manual appropriate to your audience and tastes and be consistent in its application. – choster Jul 6 '18 at 4:18

Generally no. You use a capital only when the name is derived from a proper noun. So you write "The table is made of oak", but "The table is made of English oak". And hence "The cue is made of cocobolo wood."

When using scientific names, capitalise the genus name, and use italics.

The cocobolo tree is known scientifically as Dalbergia retusa. It is sometimes called "Nicaraguan rosewood".

Errors are common and don't affect understanding you will see plenty of native speakers getting this "wrong".


  • Thanks for the explanation. Is there a test to determine what is a proper noun in this context? – GWR Jan 6 '18 at 16:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.