Nature Names: The Secret Garden

July 9, 2012 Pamela Redmond

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.

About the author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry. The coauthor of ten bestselling baby name books, Redmond is an internationally-recognized name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show,, CNN, and the BBC. Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its new sequel, Older.

View all of Pamela Redmond's articles


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