New Baby Boy Names: Inspired by Trees
By Abby Sandel
Ever think that every possible baby name has been used?
This week’s baby name news proved that it just isn’t so. English actor Jack Huston – you know him from Boardwalk Empire – and American model Shannan Click welcomed a son, Cypress Night. Cypress joins big sister Sage Lavinia.
Plenty of tree names for children are well established. For girls, Hazel, Olive, Laurel, Willow, Aspen, Holly, Juniper, and Magnolia are all in the current US Top 1000. Rowan ranks for both genders. And Forrest is a fast-rising possibility for boys.
Despite all of these popular picks, plenty of new baby names inspired by trees remain, and some of the most interesting options feel like promising choices for a son.
Here are nine of the best.
Cypress – Cypress is a nature name possibility that shares sounds with the ancient Cyrus and the oh-so-stylish Silas. It was given to just over 50 children in 2014, split almost evenly between boys and girls. The new starbaby on the block might make more parents take notice. Cypress trees were long associated with mourning, but many other meanings attach. Vincent van Gogh painted them, and the iconic “lone cypress” can be found along the rocky California coast on the famous 17-Mile Drive.
Alder – Asher is in the US Top 100, and Archer is rising fast. The similar-sounding Alder is an under-the-radar tree name and surname name that could work for a son or a daughter. Alder wood is often used to make electric guitars, turning Alder into a gentle nature name with a rock and roll sensibility. 44 boys were given the name in 2014.
Ash – Speaking of Asher, it’s the latest Ash– name to catch on in the US, following Ashley and Ashton. Just plain Ash is a tree, a cousin to the olive. But it also brings to mind Ash Ketchum, Pikachu’s trainer in the Pokemon universe, or possibly Ash Williams, of Evil Dead fame. 66 boys were named just Ash in 2014.
Elm – The rarest of the tree baby names on this list, Elm has never been given to even five children in a single year. It could be a patriotic choice, though – during the American Revolution, Boston colonists met under the Liberty Tree – a white elm – to plain their uprising. The British chopped it down, but it lives on as a symbol of independence.
Oak – It’s not just elms that are richly symbolic. Congress named the oak America’s national tree, and it’s also an official symbol of more than a dozen other nations. It’s often associated with strength and endurance. Sound-wise, short Oak is close to names like Jack and Kai. The related surname name, Oakley, has entered the US Top 1000 for girls and boys in the last few years.
Linden – This is my favorite of the tree names, a great, gender-neutral way to update Linda or Lynne, a substitute for Landon or Logan. The presidential Lyndon is a spelling variation. 69 boys and 58 girls were given the name in 2014, making it rare, but not unknown.
Koa – Koa sounds like a creative spin on Noah. It actually has more in common with Hawaiian nature name Kai. Koa is one of the most common trees in Hawaii, and the word means warrior. The tree’s wood is prized as material for canoes and surfboards. In 2014, 110 boys and 13 girls were given the name, making Koa one of the more popular of the rare tree names.
Sequoia – California’s Sequoia National Park and Forest are home to towering sequoia trees, but this is a nature name with even more significance. Botanist Stephen Endlicher gave the name to the trees in the 1840s, apparently inspired by Sequoyah, the Cherokee silversmith who invented the very first alphabet for his native tongue. In 2014, 13 boys and 66 girls were given the name. With a-ending choices like Noah, Elijah, and Luca so popular, Sequoia could be a great nature name for a son.
Hawthorn – Hawthorn is another nature name with a literary connection. The author Nathaniel Hawthorne’s surname is spelled with an ‘e’, but it comes from the family of shrubs and trees. Because they flower in the spring, they’re associated with hope. Six boys were given the name Hawthorn in 2014, plus an additional 19 Hawthornes. It’s a name that feels buttoned-down and bold at once.
Would you consider a tree baby name for your child? Do you prefer tree names for boys or girls?
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on January 25th, 2016 at 5:19 am
Love many of these, Oak, Elm, Sequoia and Hawthorn especially ^^
Alder is also great, but I fear he would drown in all the other two-syllable-ends-in-er names. Same with Linden actually. Ash feels a little 90’s and I pick Oak over Koa, couldn’t have both.
Another tree choice I really like is Iroko. Awesome rhythm!
Birch and Cedar are great as well
I also think this is a superb opportunity for adding a boy entry for Cypress! Please?
on January 25th, 2016 at 9:05 am
I like Alder and Cypress from your list. Another favourite of mine in Cedar and of course Rowan. Though not specifically trees, I do like nature names for both genders.
on January 25th, 2016 at 9:30 am
I really like Alder, Ash, and Hawthorn.
on January 25th, 2016 at 12:44 pm
I think a really good one was missed of the list.
My 15 year old grandson is named Banyan and 15 years ago it was a really bold choice, but now, with all the other tree names coming up in popularity, it seems like a very good choice.
It’s not too popular, but not weird. Easy to say and spell.
Another is a variation of one on the list. Instead of just Oak, how about Oaken/Oakyn.
on January 25th, 2016 at 3:44 pm
I think Alder will be big! It’s very similar to Alden, Aldo, and Asher but with an awesome nature vibe.
I also especially like Ash and Linden.
Others with great potential: Fraser and Douglas are fir trees.
on January 25th, 2016 at 6:24 pm
Agree that Linden is such a beautiful (and truly gender neutral) name. I also like the Australian tree names Huon, Jarrah and Karri.
on January 25th, 2016 at 9:11 pm
Love this blog. I’m a huge lover of nature names, generally favoring floral names for girls and tree names for boys (though I like Cypress for girls and Cyprus for boys).
Tree names can have great nicknames.
I like Den as a nickname for Linden.
I like Elm as a nickname for Kenelm.
I like Thorne as a nickname for Hawthorne, etc.
I second ashbee’s comments about Fraser and Douglas as fir names. There is also the Jeffrey pine as a namesake as well as tree-filled mountain names like Rainier and Denali and Yosemite and Vermont.
The ones I don’t think I saw mentioned are Birch, Balsam, Pine, and Spruce, which I love. I always imagine a little boy named Reginald Pine (Reg or Reggie).
on January 25th, 2016 at 11:01 pm
Here in Wisconsin, conservationist Aldo Leopold is a household name, but elsewhere in the country, it could be an interesting nature-inspired choice. Both first and last names are solid and contemporary-feeling!
on January 25th, 2016 at 11:03 pm
When I saw Elm, I thought Elmwood. Then I realized that I already knew an Elwood… pretty close!
Alder reminded me of Alderson.
Sylvan (nn Van) may be due for a comeback due to being both a nature name and to containing that popular letter V.
on January 26th, 2016 at 5:02 am
I have a wee Sequoia, everyone seems to love his name! I also know a Banyan, which I think is lovely. I’ve considered Hawthorne as well, afraid of getting too themey though.
on January 26th, 2016 at 1:43 pm
One of the best lists I’ve ever read!!! So many great, uncommon, nature names. Abby, amazing amazing job. You’re really killing it lately. 😉
on January 28th, 2016 at 4:34 pm
I like Birch. Indiana had a senator named Birch Bayh, so it’s been worn before!
on January 28th, 2016 at 6:09 pm
I have Birch and Pine on my list. I think it makes for a strong, meaningful middle!
on May 30th, 2016 at 10:27 am
I love Sequoia and Cypress. I think Spruce works, too, as it is similar to Bruce. Pine could work, too.
on May 30th, 2016 at 11:03 am
Here are a few from
Abelia – nns Abbie, Bea, Bell(e)
Kousa ? (Dogwood)
Poplar (nn Poppy)
Haven ? (Hale-Haven Peach)
Boy Baby Names: The 12 Jazziest – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Said
on August 24th, 2016 at 10:42 pm
[…] hard bop jazz pianist, bandleader and composer. Cedar is (along with Maple) one of my favorite tree names, with more substance and warmth than Oak, Pine and Ash. It also boasts some biblical reference and […]
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