Dr. Wood was a native of Salem and a 1941 graduate of Roanoke College. He obtained his M.S. degree at the University of North Carolina, University of Michigan, and Harvard. He joined the staff of the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard in 1954 and devoted most of his activities to research. His specialty was the classification and evolution of flowering plants, and his primary project was directed toward a generic flora of Southeastern United States. He served on two international committees to name plants.
He was an editor of the Journal of the Arnold Arboretum, a member of the Harvard faculty of arts and sciences, and a lecturer on biology. He wrote more than 40 articles on flowering plants, and his professional memberships included the International Association for Plant Taxonomy.
Carroll E. Wood received the Roanoke College Medal in 1971.