People really love plants, and that love is reflected in our baby name choices. That’s right: botanical baby names are experiencing, shall we say, abundant growth. Like tomato vines in sunshine, they’re positively flourishing.
Floral names are nothing new, of course — think of the perennial timelessness of Rose, Lily, and Daisy. (Rose, in fact, has never been out of the top 1,000 most popular names since at least 1900, hitting its peak in 1911 at #14.) But the trend has begun to extend to all things rooted, from trees to herbs, flowers to foliage.
Even our friends “down under” are leaning toward the botanical trend (which makes sense, seeing as their baby name preferences closely mirror our own). According to a recent report from Australian research analyst McCrindle, plant-based baby names are on the rise there as well … though oddly enough, only for girls.
A prime example is Poppy, which debuted at #747 on the Social Security Administration’s top 1,000 most popular baby names list in 2016. In just two years, it had risen to #592, and has continued its ascent. Or there’s Ivy, which was at #299 ten years ago; now it’s #86 and still climbing (see what we did there?).
But parents expecting a boy, or leaving baby’s sex a birthday surprise, don’t worry: Though most of the botanical baby names that come to mind are traditionally feminine, many of the new “crop” of botanicals are gender neutral names, in keeping with the unisex baby name trend.
(To see our full list of botanical baby names, click here.)
An aromatic plant said to have purifying properties (not to mention making poultry taste damn delicious). Plus, it means “profoundly wise,” and who wouldn’t want that meaning bestowed upon their child?
The intoxicating fragrance of a blooming jasmine is, quite literally, the stuff perfumes are made of. And considering the recent remake of Disney’s Aladdin, we may see an uptick in the use of this name.
Turning a brilliant gold in the fall, with striking white bark, aspen trees are part of the willow family — and they’re just as beautiful as their flowy cousins. It has been said that if you listen close enough to the rustling of their leaves, the aspen tree will give you advice.
This unisex name is derived from the Gaelic name Ruadhán, meaning “little red-haired one.” But it’s also a type of tree from the rose family, which produces vibrant red berries. In Norse mythology, the first woman was made from a rowan tree.
Tansy isn’t one of the most well-known flower names, but this bright yellow bloom, related to the daisy, has a great meaning. It comes from a Latin word that means “immortal.”
This name has two trends going for it. One, in keeping with this list, is botanical names; indigo is a tropical plant that makes a dark blue dye. Which brings us to the second trend: Indigo is also a color name, indicating the deep bluish-purple hue that the flower is prized for.
Alder trees have leaves that are said to be particularly attractive to butterflies. Ancient cultures used alder bark, which contains anti-inflammatory properties, to treat many ailments from poison ivy to tumors.
From a name derived from the Latin word “flōrus,” Florian means “flowering.” So while this isn’t specific to any certain type of flower, we’re still gonna consider it a botanical name. Besides, it’s gorgeous.
Remember how we said that in Norse mythology, the first woman was made from a rowan tree? Well, in those same cultural myths, the first man was made from an ash tree. But in terms of gender, this is one of the most unisex names you can get. It can be used on its own, or as a short version of Ashton or Ashley.
This name evokes images of the graceful, swaying boughs of the willow tree — which is also known for its flexibility. And literally or figuratively, flexibility is a desirable trait (especially when it comes to those toddler years and delayed naptimes).
This ancient tree species has been highly significant to several cultures throughout history. Considered sacred in Slavic mythology, it’s still a national emblem of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Lusatia. Its virtues were also mentioned in Greek mythology by Homer, Ovid, Pliny, Horace, and Virgil.
Technically the name for a small bouquet of flowers, but it’s got a sweet and charming, old-fashioned feel to it.
This flower name is perfect for a late summer/early fall baby, as that’s when the pretty purple aster is in full bloom. Its name is Greek for “star,” referring to the shape of its blossoms.
Who doesn’t love the heady, intoxicating scent of the lilac? It signals that spring has finally sprung! (And bonus if you’ve got ties to New Hampshire; lilac is the state flower!) The first lilacs were imported to the United States from Europe and Asia in 1750.
What can turn a stony forest floor into a lush carpet and is adaptable enough to grow on all seven continents? Moss, of course! Ancient cultures used it to cleanse and heal wounds. This hardy, vibrant green plant makes a perfect gender neutral baby name.
Highly valued by herbal healers for centuries, it was once believed that just looking at marigold flowers could help improve eyesight. Thanks to being rich in lutein (a vitamin related to beta-carotene and vitamin A), they do have medicinal properties, but you have to do more than look at them. As a name, it carries the bonus of the adorable nickname Goldie.
With a bohemian feel, and the ability to be shortened into Clo or Cloie, this one’s a great choice. Four-leaf clovers have traditionally been symbols of good luck and protection from evil spirits, and it’s no wonder, because they’re so rare — only one of every 10,000 clovers have more than three leaves! The rest of the clovers are cool too, though … just ask the bees who turn their purple flowers into delicious clover honey.
This brightly-colored blossom (which is related to sunflowers and daisies) is named after 18th-century Swedish botanist Anders Dahl, but the addition of the “ia” at the end makes it sound glamorous and feminine.
It’s a leaf! It’s a geographical feature! You can’t get a more “natural” or more gender neutral name than Bay. Ancient Romans considered them a symbol of glory, victory, and nobility, which is why you often see notable Roman figures portrayed wearing a crown of bay leaves.
You don’t have to fall back on the old, frilly flower names to take advantage of the botanical baby name trend. From Aster to Zinnia, there’s a whole new crop of nature-inspired names to choose from, and you’re sure to find one that’ll perfectly suit your little sprout.
For unique baby names and fun baby name lists, look no further than the Scary Mommy baby name database!