Green Names: What’s your favorite nature name?

Today’s Question of the Week is another two-parter:  How do you feel about nature names in general and what are your particular favorites?

This subject obviously covers a broad field, encompassing botanical and zoological names, water and weather, earth and sky. Is there one that particularly conjures up for you a special  beachy or prairie landscape, a favorite flower or bird?

Many names provided by Mother Nature have become so widespread and accepted as people names  that they’ve moved a step away from their direct association with their origins–Lily, say, or Laurel or Willow, so that perhaps  most flower names might be exempt from the discussion.  Unless maybe there’s a line to be drawn between Rose and Primrose,  Daffodil and Daisy?

Then there are those green names that still retain the groovy-hazy-Hippie-Flower-Child aura of the sixties (eg Sunshine, Rainbow), which they’ve never quite managed to shake off and which might make them offputting to some.

So where do you stand?  Do you like nature names as a genre?  Just flower names?

What is you favorite nature name?

Would/did you use one for your child?

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46 Responses to “Green Names: What’s your favorite nature name?”

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TobysMommy Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 2:19 am

I love nature or “green” names, although a lot of them are a bit too out there for me. My current top favorite name if I ever have a girl is Hazel, which I think of as a bit of a natural name.

Jade Diana Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 2:21 am

I love them all. I am particularly keen on flower names, but ocean names definitely hold a special place in my heart as I grew up by the shore. Unfortunately, there aren’t to many good ones. The only category I don’t really like is animal names; although I do like a few bird names. Very few though. I hope to chose a nature, or naturey, name for my child. At the very least in the middle name slot. If pronunciation were not an issue I would name my first daughter Oceane in a heartbeat. A little boy would be Hawthorn.

sandra haynes-kirkbright Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 3:55 am

I named my kids Harmony Dell Phoenix and Forest Rock Greywolf. Both 60’s/hippy/nature names. They are fine and dandy the both of them without any teasing issues. I think such names are great and should be used more widely.

chakrateeze Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 6:34 am

For me, aside from a name being a family name, it’s the sound of a name that matters most to me. If, however, it has a natural connotation, all the better! I love Stella and Violet for girls. (I love Willow, as well, but used it for a now-passed dog’s name!!!)

For boys, I was thinking about using Alder as a middle name. My granddad’s was named Alden, which is also my brother’s and his son’s middle names and my other nephew’s FIRST name. So I was thinking about changing the last letter, because not only is Alder strong sounding name, it’s the timber used for baseball bats! Even if it is not even in the US top 1000.

chakrateeze Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 6:39 am

In an off-topic side note, do your RESEARCH before naming your son after Ezra Pound! If you love the name, fine. If you don’t give a fig about a namesake’s politics, fine. As for me, I HATE the haters!

Lola Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 9:03 am

I have a ‘nature’ name in meaning, and since I got that one because my Pop wanted me to be Rainbow. I’m glad I escaped Rainbow, but like nature names, especially the subtle ones: Daphne’s easily my favorite. But Pomeline is my oldest natural love. I don’t like as many on boys: Hawthorn, William (Sweet William!) and Rowan for boys. I’ve been thinking about Rose in the middle for a boy, too as it’s a family surname for me. Alistair Rose ___ LastName or something like that perhaps. Rose feels fresher in the middle on a boy to me!

Sellons Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 9:09 am

I would use nature names for my kids.I love so many nature names that I couldn’t list them all. One I do adore is Mira which in sandskrit means sea/ocean.

JackieBlue Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 9:20 am

I love Marigold for a girl, it’s used in enough Dickerson’s-era novels to sound elegantly oldtimey British. On boys Sage is starting to endear itself to me. I’m also nursing a soft spot for Clover, as a nickname (but for what?). I came close to being named October Moss, until my parents made the cardinal mistake of telling people that and was eventfully beaten down to naming me the 16th most popular name in my state. I was one of 3 Kelseys in 1st grade, but I never seen another October.

Tiana Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 10:39 am

Our firstborn daughter is Acacia.

Jenna212 Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 10:49 am

For girls I love Briony, Juniper, Violet, and Persephone(tied to the origins of winter and return of Spring in Greek myth). I also like Dahlia.

For boys: Calum(dove) and Conall (wolf), as well as River. I will never use it but have always loved River.

Ali Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 11:37 am

I really like the old fashioned Sorrel for a girl and Forrest for a boy.

jillymommy Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 11:59 am

We named our daughter Aria (Italian for air) Mayim (Hebrew for water). We almost gave her the middle name Maren (Latin for sea). Other nature names I like: Keshet (Hebrew for rainbow) and Arava (Hebrew for willow). Israelis use a lot of nature names, birds, flowers, plants, animals even weather (for example a popular name there is Sa’ar which means storm).

Ruth Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 12:08 pm

I really like most nature names. My favorites would probably be: Raine, Sky, Rowan, and Violet. I’m writing a book and my main character’s names are Flash and Gust which I kind of think of as nature names because Flash reminds me of a flash of lighting and Gust reminds me of a gust of wind.

kathleensl Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I love nature names, although I agree that girls are easier than boys.

I love: Azalea, Linden, Zinnia, Dahlia, Linnea, Magnolia, Marin, Elodie, Iris….
They are just beautiful. It makes me want to have a whole gaggle of girls.

Stephanie Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Magnolia, Juniper, Clementine and Dahlia. I like Forrest for a boy.

Samantha Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 2:10 pm

My favourite nature names are Daisy, Poppy, Violet, Ivy, Rose and Lily. I like Holly also, but I’m not a huge fan.

Becca Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 2:12 pm

I like a lot of nature names but one of my favorites right now is Wren only az a mn though!
Great questions!

Nyla Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I would love to use a nature name for my daughter. I like Sage for a girl. I also like Timber for a girl, but haven’t gotten good response on it. What do you all think of Timber for a girl?

Becca Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 2:14 pm

O and love love love Poppy!!

Rhiannon Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I love Petra (rock)!–my daughter’s name.

Eviemae Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I almost named my daughter Daisy Mae after my great grandmother, but ended up just using Mae for her her middle name. I am about to have baby number two, a boy, and we specifically wanted a nature name but most are either too popular or too out there. We think we are going to name him Ranger. Myabe too out there though?

SadieSadie Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 3:19 pm

I am not a huge fan of nature names but I wil be using Rose as the middle name for a future daughter with the first name Hermione. I like Wren as well but wouldn’t ever use it.

Lola: I met a man named Rowes last Sunday. That might be a more masculine way for giving the name then it wouldn’t be associated with the feminine Rose.

linelei Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 4:15 pm

I LOVE nature names! My first naming book was the Book of Magical Names, because it’s chock full of nature names. I’ve always wanted to use nature names, and many have made the list, but not so many made the short list… They’re still fabulous, though! I love Sylvan, Callum, Coriander, Hawthorne. I love birds as names: Heron, Falcon, Peregrine, Hawk, even Cormorant. For girls, I’m taken with River, Avellana (Hazel), and then of course Hazel, and so many star names, like Estrella, Nova, Lyra, Luna, etc. I think bird and space names are my favorites.

Linz Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 4:18 pm

I love nature names. We are having baby #3 in April and plan to use a nature name as a middle: Lark. I’m also a fan of River, Rowan, Oceane (don’t know if it would go over in America though), and various flower names.

Elle Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 5:06 pm

I really like nature names. Some of my favorites are…

Hazel – was my grandma’s name and now my new baby cousin!

Lauren Kay Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 5:35 pm

I think nature names are so pretty. I always thought I’d call a son River and I also really like Sky for a boy. For girls I love Skye, Hazel, Willow and Juniper.
To JillyMommy: Aria Mayim is a beautiful name!

Janel Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 6:13 pm

I’m not a HUGE fan of nature names- Rose seems too overuse *cough* Sylvester Stallone *cough*, and I think that Lily should be replaced by another flower. I like Bryony, though I don’t know if I could use it for my daughter. River would be an interesting boys name, but I’m unsure how anyone would really respond to it, and how he would respond to it.
I suppose my favorite nature names are:
1) Lillian
2) Fleur
3) Allouette
5) Azalea (did I spell that right?)

Gingersnap Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 6:39 pm

As far as nature names go, I like Forrest for a boy, and Sylvia for a girl.

An interesting thing about the name Dahlia is that it is the the flower named after Anders Dahl, the botonist who first discovered it in Mexico. Although I like the sound of the name Dahlia, its etymology originates with Anders the botonist, which changes it for me.

Carlie Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Bluebell (my number one favorite)

Kerri Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 8:00 pm

I love Linnea on Elle’s list. I have a lovely neighbor named Linnea, she’s about 75.

Boston Girl Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 8:21 pm

There aren’t a lot of nature names I care much for…most of them sound to me like sixties flower-child names, therefore hippy-trippy and dated. But I *love* Skye for a girl and would definitely use that. Jasmine is another possibility, though it seems slightly overused at the moment. As for boys…well, I really don’t know! I tend to have a lot more favorite girls’ names than boys’ names.

Isabel Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 10:04 pm

My absolute favorite is Rose.

Others I like are…

^the usual culprits.

Isabel Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Oops, forgot Lavender and Saffron.

Mela-lu Says:

December 29th, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Nature names are my favourite.

We’re expecting a boy in about 6 weeks and Phoenix is a top contender.

I also love:
Linden (LOVE LOVE LOVE Linden)
Hudson (the river)

For girls I love:
Islette or Eyelette

I love so many!!!!!

Karen Says:

December 30th, 2010 at 5:10 am


For parents considering Forrest – a head’s up — I would only use the spelling “Forest” as the double “r” version is strongly associated with Nathan Bedford Forrest and is the origin of the name’s popularity for males in the South. (The character Forrest Gump , for example.) Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate commander and the founder of the Ku Klux Klan.

Harmony Says:

January 1st, 2011 at 8:52 pm

My daughter is 20. I named her Autumn Breeze.

I love nature names, and there are so many to choose from! Other favorites would be, for boys:

Oren (pine tree)
Beck (stream)
Brenton (fire)



I know somebody that named their daughter “Indica”, which sounds pretty, but since it’s a type of marijuana, I don’t think it makes for a good first name.

Jenzie Says:

January 13th, 2011 at 1:04 am

I’ve always considered Ivy for a girl and my sister in law has said she’s using Fern… what cute little cousins they will be :o)

happydreamlandofnames Says:

March 9th, 2011 at 8:32 pm

@lola–ppppppppplllllleeeeeeeeaaaaaaaassssse don’t name a boy alstair rose. i agree that rose getting boring for girls, but that doesn’t mean you should take it out on a little boy!!! if you love the idea you could use rosario or bud though.

@nyla– timber is a great idea for a girl!!!

i <3 nature names!!! they have to be really out there though like oasis or grove. cascade is a fav too sadly it is a dishwashing detergent brand

Tori Says:

May 17th, 2011 at 4:40 pm

My favourite name for a girl is Rose. I love the name Rose it’s simply beautiful and a family name. I also love the variants of Rose; Rosalie, Rosaline, Rosalind, Rosalyn, Rosabel and Primrose. There all delightfully feminine names.

I also love the name Lily including it’s variants of Lillian, Liliana and Lilia. Violet is also very pretty, Willow is really gorgeous along with Eden. Aurelia is pretty too and has dramatically grown on me.

For boys I love the name Sage which is so free-spirited and handsome.

I think nature is a great source of inspiration of names!

Anna Says:

May 29th, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Oh, my favourite is definitely Petra. It means rock in latin, and the name sounds so sweet and pretty, but the meaning is strong and and wonderful. I love it.

mjeezy13 Says:

June 8th, 2011 at 3:08 pm

I love nature names! I reeeaaallllyyy wanted our possible future son to have Sky has a middle name, but I can’t seem to convince hubby that it’s a boy name. So for now we’ve compromised on Kai, which also has several nature meanings. Others I like a lot (boys and girls):
…and the list goes on. and on…

Lucky*Clover Says:

August 7th, 2011 at 9:43 pm

I do like quite a few nature names, but using two nature names can be a bit much, like Autumn Rain. I like Ivy and Sage and I liked the name Orchid for two seconds until my sister said she would be called “Orca Whale”, and that was the end of that. I heard of someone naming their daughter Sunset and while I think it sounds pretty and distinctive, I feel that might be going too far or maybe I’m just not used to hearing it as a name.

Reeny Says:

November 24th, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Jenzie – Ivy and Fern are lovely for cousins. They are sort of accepted classics on the nature names, opposed to say Rainbow and Rock – names, but not classics.

I used to love Skye (after the Scottish island) but it got to be too popular and had too much of a hippy connotation. Plus my husband’s cousin used it.

Love flower names on girls: Rose, Lily, Violet, Ivy.

Always had a soft spot for Primrose but I could never use it on a child. I’m not brave enough.

LyndsayJenness Says:

May 31st, 2012 at 1:54 am

I love botanical names. Clementine (yeah I think of this as a fruit name) Marigold and Magnolia are the most unusual ones that I love. But some of my favorites are Rose, Rosalie, Violet, Ivy, Iris, Poppy, Juniper…

Other naturey names I’m a fan of are Zinnia, Azalea, Dahlia, Pearl, Jasper, Ruby, Fox, Wolf, Birdie, Soleil, Lunette, Luna… and as a stretch I’ll say Breaker (makes me think of the beach)

jills Says:

May 31st, 2012 at 11:15 am

Love nature names, just not when they’re mashed together like you’re trying too hard to look like a hippy. My favorites are Juniper (future mn), Clementine (future fn), Primrose (mn), Jasper (mn) Bryony, Ivy, Ruby, Luna (cats name), Birdie (as a nn for Bernadette), Pearl and Winter.

orphanedhanyou Says:

May 7th, 2017 at 9:08 am

Lola I like Rose as a middle for a boy, but agree with SadieSadie – Rowes is a great way to keep it masculine.

Or go bold with Rosewarne & Roosevelt.

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