A large genus of trees and shrubs that are actually in the pea family, and that are commonly known as rosewoods because of their smell when cut or worked. Some authorities believe there are up to 600 species, though 159 species are officially recognized. The dalbergia family is found throughout Central and South America, in Madagascar, southern Asia, and Africa. Dalbergias tend to be dense, rich-looking woods that have a high oil content. The dust and oils from some dalbergias can cause allergic reactions. Dalbergias typically do no need to be finished, as their own oils protect them from humidity and other dangers.
Common examples found in guitars, basses, and other musical instruments include African blackwood (dalbergia melanoxylon), Brazilian rosewood(dalbergia nigra), cocobolo (dalbergia retusa), Indian rosewood (dalbergia latifolia), Thai rosewood (dalbergia cochinchinensis), and kingwood (dalbergia cearensis).