Flower Fairy Names

Visitors to the Flower Fairy Names nameberry message boards have recently been treated to personalized anagrams of their names by Nephele, who’s turned ordinary appellations into charming, creative names worthy of flower fairies and elves. Here, she writes about the Flower Fairy legacy and names.  To buy the Flower Fairy prints by Cicely Mary Barker, go here.

It’s certainly no news to names enthusiasts that flowers and herbs can be a great source for inspired baby-naming. Familiar flower names such as Jasmine, Lily, and Rose are perennial favorites. Less familiar flower names such as Celandine and Tansy also make lovely choices.

Such names inspired poet and artist, Cicely Mary Barker (1895-1973) for her classic series of little books titled The Flower FairiesBarker illustrated, with accompanying poems, the beloved flowers of her English countryside and gardens, personifying them as fanciful fairy-children.

It is Cicely Mary Barker who has inspired me to bring my anagramming craft to Nameberry, to see what sort of “Flower Fairy Names” we might discover among some of our forum members here.

You may find a name from among those below that appeals to your own naming aesthetic. These Flower Fairy names have been anagrammed from the scrambled letters of people’s actual names. Names of flowers, herbs, and trees — especially in foreign languages — serve as likely surnames complementing the flowery-sounding forenames.

While the vast majority of Nameberry participants appear to be female, males are also welcome — although, I may give dudes the somewhat more flatteringly masculine title of “Elf”.


“Nelke” is the German name for the Pink.


“Bramble” is another name for the Blackberry bush.


Lilla” is the Italian name for the Lilac.


“Gelbe” is from “Gelbe Narzisse,” a German name for the Daffodil.


“Achillea” is the Latin botanical name for Yarrow.


“Chicoria” is the Italian name for Chicory.


“Crinllys” is a Welsh name for the Dog-Violet.

For an added treat and postscript, I offer you the following list of Welsh flower names.  Many are in actual use for Welsh girls, some are merely pretty-sounding Welsh names for flowers.

Welsh has always struck me as an almost magical-sounding language — small wonder that fantasy novelist J.R.R. Tolkien used Welsh as a basis for the Elvish languages he created for his Lord of the Rings series.  By the same token, Welsh flower names make likely-sounding fairy names.

BLODYN (flower)
BLODWEN (white flower)
BRIALLEN (primrose)
CEILYS (pink)
CELYNNEN (holly)
EIRLYS  (snowdrop)
EIRYS (iris)
FFIONA (foxglove)
GWENITH (wheat)
GWENONWY (lily of the valley)
LILI (lily)
LILWEN (white lily)
PANSI (pansy)
PERLLYS (mignonette)
RHEDYN (fern)
RHOSLYN (rose valley)
RHOSMARI (rosemary)
RHOSYN (rose)
SERENYN (scilla)
SIASMIN (jasmine)
TANSI (tansy)

Nephele is the ‘net name of an obsessive anagrammatist who for years has provided unique name makeovers for people on numerous message boards (mostly gothic) on the Web. Her anagramming work has been praised by gothic musician Voltaire and, most recently, by baby names experts and authors Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz. Another obsession of Nephele’s is ancient Rome, and she can be found moderating the history discussion forums of UNRV.com (where she is also the online-published author of a scholarly series on ancient Roman surnames). Despite the popularity of Nephele’s anagrams, she is not prepared to give up her day job in an undisclosed public library in New York.

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23 Responses to “Flower Fairy Names”

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Davena Says:

June 30th, 2009 at 4:10 am

How would you pronounce



Nephele Says:

June 30th, 2009 at 8:02 am

Hi, Davena. I believe that the Welsh name “Eirys” (meaning “iris”) is pronounced the same way that we pronounced “Iris” — eye-ris.

The Welsh name “Eirlys” (meaning “snowdrop”) I believe is pronounced: eye’r-lis.

Perhaps we have someone here who is Welsh who can either correct or confirm this?

— Nephele

Sebastiane Says:

June 30th, 2009 at 3:00 pm

What a cool article! Gwenonwy is quite appealing.

Jane Says:

July 24th, 2009 at 7:54 pm

a-er-lis (a being the letter name) is how I would say it’s pronounced, I’m a Welsh speaker.

ailsa Gray Says:

July 26th, 2009 at 6:24 pm

I am Welsh, and can indeed confirm Nephele’s pronounciations. I have a neighbour who is called Eirlys (snowdrop) – EYE-r-liss, the emphasis on the first syllable. She says she was born in January and her mother had just seen snowdrops.

Nephele, I am intrigued with the flower fairy blog. I still have all the Cicely Mary Barker books from my childhood in the 1950s/60s, including more modern editions I bought my own children, and have loved them forever. Of course, I gave all the fairies NAMES too!

I would love to join in with this flower fairy thing. As well as being a mad mother of six teenagers and being nuts about names since the 1950s – a LONG time ago! – I also work in a public library.

pam Says:

July 26th, 2009 at 6:33 pm

Hi Ailsa — Gee, I’m not certain as I’ve never used the message boards as a user, only a moderator! You may need to be logged in to post replies and comments but once you’re logged in I think it’s pretty easy to start new discussions or join in current ones. I think you’re going to find a lot of friends here. Plus, Nephele also works in a library!

Nephele Says:

July 26th, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Hi, Ailsa! Here’s the link to the Flower Fairy Names topic. I’d be delighted to give you your anagrammed name and let you know which particular flower fairy family you belong to. Nice meeting you! And, as Pam says, we seem to have libraries in common, as well as Cicely Mary Barker!

— Nephele

redridinghood Says:

July 28th, 2009 at 5:04 pm

OOH, Nephele, I am so excited! Just off to the Flower Fairy Names topic now. I am a bit of a technophobe, (everything I have learned on the computer has been thanks to my six teenagers, and I am still learning daily) so if necessary, I will come back and leave a message here. Fingers crossed.

Bye for now.


ehnsausornt Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Please can you tell me my flower fairy name. Thank you 🙂

Sag in an o nigh Says:

July 30th, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Thank you x

Nephele Says:

September 24th, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Hi, ehnsausornt. Sorry I’m late getting back to you. Just visit my thread on the Nameberry discussion forum at:


…and I’ll be more than happy to oblige! 🙂

Everyone else, thank you for your feedback, comments, and compliments!

— Nephele

GILBERT & SULLIVAN NAMES – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

December 22nd, 2009 at 12:18 pm

[…] About Names” forum.  She wrote previously for us on Baby Girl Names from Ancient Rome and Flower Fairy Names  and has also contributed Colorful Crayon […]

spotlightstarlit Says:

February 6th, 2010 at 9:59 pm

And now I am in love with Tansy!

JEWISH BABY NAMES: A Passover menu of Yiddish names – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

March 29th, 2010 at 12:35 am

[…] About Names” forum.  She wrote previously for us on Baby Girl Names from Ancient Rome and Flower Fairy Names  and has also contributed Colorful Crayon […]

german Says:

April 21st, 2010 at 3:42 pm

To be literal, Gelbe Narzisse means yellow Narcissus. (Daffodil). So Gelbe (or Gelb singularly) would just be “yellow”

LJandRL Says:

October 22nd, 2010 at 7:16 am

I’m with Jane on this one….I also speak Welsh and the “ei” syllable is said like the letter “a” not the word “eye”. So Eirlys would be like AYR-liss and Eiris would be like AYR-is.

The fact is though, that only approx 20-25% of Welsh people can speak ANY level of Welsh and for most, English is their first language, therefore lots of people in Wales misspronounce Welsh names in the same way as English or American people would. I can’t tell you how many Welsh people I know how pronounce their own names incorrectly, although I’d never be as rude as to point it out to them so I just go along with the pronounciation their used to!! That would explain Ailsa Gray’s neighbour who pronounces Eirlys like EYE-r-liss.

LJandRL Says:

October 22nd, 2010 at 7:17 am

*they’re used to! (oops…rushed that!)

Hala90 Says:

January 11th, 2013 at 6:01 am

I grew up in Wales and the EI spelling is usually pronounced AY. So Ay-ris and Ay-lis.

NiVi Says:

August 6th, 2013 at 10:55 am

You can’t use “Gelbe” as a name, no.
In German “Gelb” means “yellow”.
So “Gelbe Narzisse” is the name, but it says, that the daffodil is yellow.
It’s like you’d say blaue, grüne, rote (blue, green, red) flower…
If you want to use a part from the name, usw Narzisse, not “Gelbe”.
It sounds absolutely stupid for Germany ears and makes no sense and nobody would think: Oh, she used it beacause of “Gelbe Narzisse” 😉
Nelke would never be used as a name in Germany too.
There’s ELKE as a name, but it has nothing to do with Nelke, it’s a short form from Adelheid.
I think Nelke has the potential to be a name, but it sounds weird for me.

GigiGibbons Says:

August 6th, 2013 at 11:14 am

I guess I wasn’t paying attention to the part about “missing” these names. I went to the thread very excitedly, used the scramble and went to post it when I realized it was closed. This was such a different idea, I really liked it. Let me know if you’re going to do it again.

alphabetdem Says:

August 6th, 2013 at 9:06 pm

I’m intrigued by the idea of this! I also have to say I loooove these beautiful fairy illustrations!

Dantea Says:

November 10th, 2013 at 10:47 pm

I loves tons of these, particularly Eirlys…but I have to say you’ve talked to VOLTAIRE!! O_O You’re my new favorite person!!

Sorry. I need to get that out 😛

Creative Florist Names | Florist Delivery Online Says:

November 6th, 2014 at 7:31 am

[…] Flower Fairy Names – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry – Visitors to the Flower Fairy Names nameberry message boards have recently been treated to personalized anagrams of their names by Nephele, who’s turned ordinary …… […]

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