6 Surprising Names: The Garden Variety

The Garden Variety

Do you ever run across a name and wonder why you don’t hear it more often? Every so often, I do. For the next two or three weeks, the focus will be names we are surprised we don’t hear more often, starting with surprising names of the garden variety.

There are plenty of botanical names that are well-known and rank highly as baby names, usually for girls. And then there are botanical names that aren’t popular at all, but oft-heard in the blogosphere, such as Clover and Magnolia.

Neither name is in the top 1000 yet, but seem to be headed in that direction.

  • Clover increased slightly from 99 newborn babies in 2010 to 109 in 2011.
  • Magnolia increased slightly from 164 newborn babies in 2010 to 185 in 2011.

But what is really telling is the love both names get on nameberry. A search on nameberry reveals:

Are there any botanical names that are not only underused, but seem unheard of as well? There are still a few. Here are six stylish, under the radar botanical choices.

Camellia – This is lovely as a first or middle name, and with the huge popularity of Amelia (#30) and Camila (#48), plus the rising popularity of Camilla (#458) a little Camellia manages to uniquely fit-in on the playground. Cam is a natural nickname. In 2011 there were 33 baby girls named Camellia.

Forsythia – This is a lovely four syllable choice. It could make a nice sister for Alethea, if you like the repetitious TH, and sounds like familiar baby boomer hit Cynthia.

Ianthe – Looking for an I name and a botanical name besides Ivy or Iris? Here it is. This name gets added bonus for being the name of an ocean nymph in Greek mythology, giving it two more alluring connections. There were 7 baby girls named Ianthe in 2011.

Petal – Jamie Oliver may have picked this for his daughter in 2009, yet the name remains rare in the U.S., given to fewer than 5 babies in 2011.

Tansy – Has the peppy z-sound in the middle like its twin Pansy, but Tansy isn’t a derogatory term.

Zinnia – This name packs a double-punch: the zesty Z and the beautiful flower. This particular flower manages to be unconventional, yet easy to wear. And the flowers are bright and beautiful.

Readers: Can you think of other botanical names you are surprised you don’t hear more often? Which surprising names of the garden variety are your favorites?

* These nameberry search result numbers are as of September 16, 2012 and could change at any time.

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  1. I love botanical names. Especially the more less obvious ones. From above I enjoy zinnia, Camellia, and Petal. Other I like include: Elodie, Bryony, Fuchsia, Avellana, Hazel, Amaryllis, Lotus, Lilac, and Lavender. If I could have a whole garden full I probably would. Lol.


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