“Pretty as a posy, lovely as a rose.” Flowers represent all things feminine so it’s no wonder they’ve long been used as names for girls. During the late Victorian period, flower names were among the most popular names for girls. The trend disappeared through most of the 20th century, but has recently made reappearance, thanks in part to celebrity babies.
Jude Law named his baby Iris, while Jennifer Gardener and Ben Affleck named their daughter Violet. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie gave their baby the name Zahara, a Hebrew flower. Thinking of using a flower name for your baby? Read on to learn more:
Aster: This Greek word means “star,” probably because the aster flower has a daisy-like flower that might represent a star.
Azalea: Azaleas, with their evergreen leaves and profuse, vivid blossoms are a gardener’s dream if you can grow them. They grow easily throughout the east coast, south, and Pacific Northwest, but are rarely seen in the Rocky Mountains.
Briony: Briony, or Bryony, is a green-flowered vine that grows throughout the British Isles, where this name is popular. Meet an unlikely heroine in Briony Tallis, the protagonist of Ian McEwan’s Atonement.
Calla: This name gets its origins from exotic, elegant calla lilies. They are a frequent choice for wedding bouquets.
Camellia: Camellias, with their fragrant, delicate blossoms and glossy evergreen leaves, are notoriously difficult to grow. They have exacting growing requirements, but are among the most prized of flowers.
Chrysanthemum: Pick up Kevin Henke’s beloved children’s book Chrysanthemum to read about one Chrysanthemum who learned to love her name.
Dahlia: Dahlias are named for the Swedish botanist, Anders Dahl, who originally cultivated them.
Daisy: When you think of the name Daisy, do you think of the classic role Jessica Tandy played in “Driving Miss Daisy?” This old-fashioned name is regaining popularity and is a nick name for Margaret.
Danica: Means “morning star.”
Fern: An old-fashioned name. E.B. White’s beloved heroine in Charlotte’s Web was named Fern.
Flora: This old-fashioned British name is regaining popularity.
Ginger: Often used as a nick-name for Virginia, ginger means pep and energy. Think of dancing ingénue, Ginger Rogers.
Heather: Jerry McGuire and Paul McCartney both have daughters named Heather, a flowering evergreen that grows throughout the British Isles.
Holly: Often associated with Christmas, Holly is an evergreen shrub or plant with bright-red berries.
Iris: Did you know irises are sometimes called flags, because of their long stalks and upright, flag-like blooms?
Ivy: Previously a name found mostly in Britain, Ivy gained popularity in the U.S. after Beyonce named her daughter Blue Ivy.
Jasmine: One of the more exotic flower names, Jasmine is a fragrant, tropical flower.
Lavender: One of the most useful flowers, lavender is dried and used in potpourri, fragrant oils, and even cooking. It was used as an antiseptic during the middle Ages.
Leilani: Beautiful Hawaiian name that means “lovely flower.”
Lilac: Lilacs are among the sturdiest flowers, and have been cultivated in America since colonial times. One stand of lilacs on the Governor Wentworth estate in Portsmouth, N.H. was planted in 1750.
Lily: Lovely, lovely Lily is currently ranked #10 in the top most popular names for a girl in the U.S.
Marigold: The cheery, easy-to-grow marigold is used as a girl’s name almost exclusively in Britain.
Olive: While Olive remains fairly obscure, Olivia was ranked number four in popularity in 2011.
Poppy: Poppy is most often used as a nickname for Penelope.
Posey: Sometimes used as a nickname for Josephine, this name is popular in Britain, but rarely heard in the U.S.
Rose: Possibly the world’s most beloved flower, roses have been cultivated for thousands of years. In the seventeenth century, roses were so valuable, they were used as currency. Frequently used as a middle name.
Violet: Hugely popular during the Victorian age, Violet is regaining popularity today.
Zinnia: Zinnias grow as perennials throughout the southern U.S. and Mexico, their native country.
The University of Illinois Extension: The History of Roses
The Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University: Lilacs at the Arnold Arboretum
U.S. Social Security Office: Popularity of Baby Names