Nature Names: The Secret Garden

Nature names from the botanical world, including flower names like Daisy and Lily and tree names such as Maple and even spice and fruit names such as Sage and Plum, have become both more visible and more fashionable over the past handful of years.

But there’s another group of nature names that hint at their earthly roots rather than state them so plainly, a secret garden of baby names that reference plants and flowers in their original meanings.  One of the best things about these names is that they’re more even-handed than many botanical names in their gender identity, with several excellent masculine choices plus others that work equally well for boys or girls.

If you love nature names but also value subtlety, one of these secret garden names may be right for you.


Abilene – This American place name derives from the Hebrew for grass

AlamedaAnother American place name — it’s in California — is Spanish for cottonwood grove

Arantxa – A Basque name meaning thornbush

Ardith — Hebrew for flowering field

Azami — A Japanese name meaning thistle flower

Carmel – A Hebrew name popular in Ireland and associated with the Virgin Mary, this means garden

DaraSleek and simple, this means oak tree

Geneva – A European place name that means juniper tree

Izara – A Hausa name from Africa that references trees

Jessamine – From an early spelling of Jasmine

Jinan – Arabic name meaning garden or paradise

KamalaLovely Hindi name meaning garden

Kiri — Popular Maori name meaning tree bark

Leslie – Scottish classic that means “garden by the pool”

Lilou – Occitan — a language of Southern France — form of the Lily names

Nizanaa Hebrew name that means flower bud

Patia – A Spanish gypsy name that means leaf

Savannah – Popular American place name that comes from the Spanish for tropical grassland

Shoshana or Susannah — Hebrew for lily

Tamar or Tamara – A Hebrew name meaning date palm tree

WaverlyAn English surname name that means “meadow of quivering aspens”

Zahra or ZaharaAn Arabic or Hebrew name that means flower


AmirAn Arabic name meaning treetop

Arlo — Spanish for barberry tree

BentleyTrendy surname name that’s English for “meadow with coarse grass”

BusbyAnother English surname name meaning shrub farm

CormacTraditional Irish boys’ name that means tree trunk

DannerGerman surname name that means “dweller near the fig tree”

Eoghan – Irish boys’ name meaning “born of the yew tree”

Lennox Scottish surname increasingly used as a first, this means “elm grove”

Stephen – Boys’ classic that means garland or crown


Ellery – A surname name that means island with elder trees

Hollis – English surname name that means “near the holly bushes”

Laramie – French-rooted place name that means “canopy of leafy boughs”

Mead — English name meaning “from the meadow”

Perth —  Scottish place name that means  “thornbush thicket”

YarrowAn English name that means rough stream but is also a plant name

Go here for even more nature names in disguise.

Illustration is a piece of jewelry by Pittsburgh artist Gerry Florida.

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


9 Responses to “Nature Names: The Secret Garden”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Mego0801 Says:

July 10th, 2012 at 6:55 am

Okay, I love this!!! I’m totally in love with Nature names since we’ve always been big outdoors people, and i’m really into gardening. Plus, I live near Abilene, TX, so it’s cool knowing that their town is named after grass, so is my hometown lol 🙂

I really liked Jessamine and Lilou to my surprise, and the boys’ list was great but I’m just so picky about boy names (last name makes it difficult) and none of these seemed to fit the bill. It’s not them, it’s me!

Poppy528 Says:

July 10th, 2012 at 10:53 am

I love Lilou! I believe Shoshana has the same meaning 🙂 I’ve always thought Amir was an extremely handsome name. Oren is another fave (meaning tree).

pam Says:

July 10th, 2012 at 11:17 am

You’re right, Poppy. I think the Susannah (lily) names were not included here because they were in the first blog we did along these lines, which you can find if you click the link at the end of this blog…

pam Says:

July 10th, 2012 at 11:31 am

Yikes, just checked and I did NOT include Shoshana or Susannah in the other Nature Names in Disguise blog either. Great catch, Poppy. these should be front and center! I am going to add now.

skizzo Says:

July 10th, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Leslie should be on the “boys” list or at the very least “unisex”…

edenlyla13 Says:

July 10th, 2012 at 3:08 pm

I love nature names!

magnolia0212 Says:

July 10th, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I love nature names! We are naming our little girl due in November, Wren. I also love Rowan and River, but they are more obvious nature names.

Taz Says:

July 10th, 2012 at 10:22 pm

Dara is unisex too. I have known 2 male Daras one was Irish and one was Armenian

Barcelonababe Says:

July 12th, 2012 at 9:59 am

I have a Spanish cousin Arantxa, pronounced ah-RAN-cha, which sounds exotic here, but in Spanish I feel it’s too similar to the word for spider, ~

leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.