Nature Names: Fresh fruit names beyond Apple and Banana
In the never-ending search for fresh green nature names, prospective parents have dug all around the flower garden, looked up at tree names and swum through a sea of water names.
One area of nature names that hasn’t been explored as much is –don’t laugh—fruit names. Maybe this was because there was so much (perhaps unfair) snickering when Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin named their baby girl Apple, even though there were some who liked the fresh-faced, wholesome image it projected.
We’re not suggesting that you call your baby Banana (the pen name of a noted Japanese novelist) or Prune (which happens to be really popular in France these days), but if you look beyond the common fruit names to some of their specific varieties and international variations, you might be surprised to find some interesting—and unusual– nature name choices.
ANJOU—The Anjou is a type of sweet and juicy pear, which originated in Belgium but takes its name from a wine-growing province in the Loire valley with a rich history that includes such characters as Geoffrey the Handsome. As a name, Anjou has a charming Bijou-like feel, and might be seen as a cousin to Anjelica and Angelina.
BERRY—Berry has long been used as a unisex first name reaching a high of Number 435 in 1909 and staying in the Top 100 till 1971. It has one male and one female well-known namesake—Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr, and the late actress-photographer Berry Berenson (born Berinthia).
CERISE—A color name as well as the French word for cherry, which has itself had some popularity over the years, disappearing in the seventies along with Terry, Merry and Kerry—and also possibly because of the embarrassment it might cause a teenage girl bearing it. No such problems with Cerise.
CITRON—The citron is a fragrant citrus fruit—not to be confused with the lemon which is called citron in French. Native to India, it’s used mainly for medicinal and religious purposes. Could conceivably be a unisex name.
CLEMENTINE—Clementine—which is not always immediately identified as a fruit name—is a Nameberry fave that has been in the public eye since first Cybill Shepherd and then Ethan Hawke and Claudia Schiffer all used it for their daughters. It’s stylish and feminine and has long since shed its clunky ‘Oh my darlin’ image.
CRISPIN—In addition to being a Golden Delicious-like apple, Crispin is a saint’s name (the patron of shoemakers) that has long been used as a name. It means curly-haired, and so would make an apt and appealing name for a baby boy fitting that description.
LEMON—Believe it or not, Lemon was a fairly well used male name a century ago, and it still has some potential as a unisex name. When Alex Baldwin’s character on 30 Rock calls Tina Fey’s Liz by her last name Lemon, it makes it sound quite usable.
MIRABELLE—Mirabelles are dainty little yellow plums, and the name Mirabelle—or Mirabel—is equally delicate and dainty. Often used in literature., Mirabelle was the main character in Steve Martin’s novella Shopgirl.
PLUM—This is another juicy middle name possibility, and one that has already started to catch on. It was first associated with the British-born writer Plum Sykes, whose birth name is Victoria, the nickname arising from the Victoria plum species.
QUINCE—The quince is a relative of both the apple and the pear and is one of the earliest known fruits. Though as a name it could be taken for a shortening of Quincy, there’s no reason Quince couldn’t stand on its own—à la Vince.
In addition, many varieties of fruits are named for personages connected with them, and so become fruit-names-by-association.
Some of these are:
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Other Carolyn Said
on May 12th, 2011 at 12:37 am
I can’t bring myself to consider something like Peach seriously, but Clementine, Cerise, and Mirabelle all seem usable enough, and certainly give off a fresh, summery air. As for my, my favourite fruit-related name (though hardly used) is Reinette, from the apple variety, which has a quite respectable namesake in french history (madame de pompadour), though I quite like Oliver, Juliet, Aurora, Edith, and Geneva from your list as well.
on May 12th, 2011 at 7:26 am
Okay, so there are a lot of these that I could never, ever take seriously.
Berry, I think is an adorable nickname, and a usable one, but I might use it as a more interesting short form for Kimberly.
on May 12th, 2011 at 8:54 am
There are some great names you can take from grape varieties, too- beyond Cabernet and Prosecco. Perle, Vespolina, Clairette, Airén, Noble and Ives, to name just a handfull!
on May 12th, 2011 at 9:14 am
Oh, Pomeline’s been a love of mine since the mid 80’s! I also like: Clementine, Plum (Peach is neat but a bit too much for me), Edith & Winston. I also adore Strawberry, but don’t think I’m brave enough to use it! 😀
on May 12th, 2011 at 10:09 am
My grandparents had an apple orchard when I was little and I always thought it would be cool to name a passel of kids after their varieties: Rome, Jonathan, Melrose, Cortland. They also grew Golden and Red Delicious, but even in a daydream those don’t work.
on May 12th, 2011 at 10:43 am
Don’t get me wrong I love the nameberry blog but I just had to laugh at this one. Fruits should just not be used as baby names, like ever. Thanks for the laugh nameberrry it was a good way to start my day.
on May 12th, 2011 at 11:12 am
I honestly don’t understand why fruit names are so off limits… Why are gems and flowers and trees fine, but not fruit? I’m being serious, can someone explain that?
I love Clementine and Pomeline. Pomeline used to be on my list, nickname Polly. I’ve considered all the citrus names as middles, to honor where I’m from. I agree that 30 Rock makes Lemon seem really very usable. I do prefer it in the middle, though. I also love Peach as a middle name. If my son had been a girl it might have been his middle name. I think it’s so sweet and fresh and quirky. I guess I like it for the same reasons Gwyneth likes Apple.
on May 12th, 2011 at 1:34 pm
I feel the same way, LyndsayJenness. I thought Apple was adorable when I heard it, and really don’t understand the vitriol directed at it. Not only do we have trees, flowers and gems, there’s the occasional liqour (Brandy) and beef (Angus) thrown in. River, Rock, Sky, what’s wrong with Plum and Peach?
on May 12th, 2011 at 3:38 pm
I only object to Peach because of the Princess Peach connotations.
on May 12th, 2011 at 3:42 pm
I object to Peach because of the Princess Peach connotations. And I think that most of these names I would never use because they remind me of over the top pet names like Apple Dumpling or Sugar Plum.
on May 13th, 2011 at 1:23 am
I think maybe they seem off-limits because we view them as food, rather than as things from nature (like flowers or elements). We wouldn’t name a kid Spaghetti or Asparagus, because that’s something common that we consume. But lilies and rivers and the sky are beautiful and magical and wild and we don’t eat them, so they seem a more worthy choice for our children’s names than the fruit that we have for a snack every day.
on May 13th, 2011 at 1:49 pm
I love this post! Of course, they are too daring for many, but I can see many of them in the middle spot! Peach and Plum are too sweet. I admit, I also love Apple… it’s so fresh and sweet. It won’t be too long before fruit names are accepted. 🙂
on May 13th, 2011 at 5:21 pm
I didn’t see Apricot mentioned but I think it sounds and look great, I loved strawberry Shortcake dolls and I always love Orange Blosson and Apricot names.
on May 17th, 2011 at 2:06 pm
Honestly, I think Apple is spunky and fun, but not too crazy! I agree – I don’t count it among the strangest, most terrible celeb-baby names, either…
Hm. I definitely think some fruit names are a go. Why not? Love Huckleberry and even Berry – as a middle – and Pomeline and Mirabelle are so elegant. Quince and Plum are perhaps my favorites. I think Quince is so cool!
on May 29th, 2011 at 8:20 am
She’s so sweet, although I suspect she’d be ecually nice for a boy with the closeness to Simon and the obvious Percy nickname 🙂
Tamarind and Rambutan are good for boys, and Lychee/Litchi is lovely for a little girl 🙂
Damson is the only new one to me from this list, I like it!
leave a reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.