Baby Name Needed – Botanical Name for Baby Boy

A reader named Daniel recently e-mailed me. He and his wife are expecting a baby boy in several weeks and they’re looking for a botanical name for their son.

Botanical boy names can be hard to track down, but they’re definitely out there. For instance, tree names that can be used as boy names include Aspen, Cedar, Linden, Rowan and Willow. Herb names that work for baby boys include Basil, Burnet, Sage, Thyme and Valerian.

Several of the names above also happen to be traditional names with separate (non-botanical) origins. Rowan comes from the Gaelic word for “red,” Basil from the Greek word for “king,” and Valerian from the Latin verb “to be strong.” The word sage can also mean “wise” (adj.) or “wise man” (n.).

Forest, Kale, Reed and Rush are other possibilities from the plant kingdom. And, if one wants to be a bit more daring, there’s always Hawthorn, Orris or Huckleberry.

Finally, male names with botanical definitions include Alon/Elon, Ashton/Nash/Tash, Ogden, Silvio/Sylvester and Vernon.

Do you guys have any other ideas?

Update: The baby has a name! Scroll down to find out what it is…

22 thoughts on “Baby Name Needed – Botanical Name for Baby Boy

  1. I don’t have any name suggestions at the moment. I will give that more thought. In the meantime, just in case your reader is concerned about unisex names, as I would be, I wanted him or her to know that on the SSA’s top 1000 list for 2007, Willow & Aspen did not make the cut for boys, however they did for girls — Willow was #430 and Aspen was #611. Personally, for that reason, I’d skip those names for boys.

    Sage is used for both genders, but is more popular for girls. It was #468 for girls & #719 for boys. Plus, some girls were named Saige as well (#822), but that spelling didn’t make the boy’s list at all. All in all, there were 1025 girls named Sage & Saige and 315 boys named Sage.

    From your list of suggestions, I think that names like Forest/Forrest, Kale, Reed & Ashton are the safest bets. Rush could have a brother named Chase ;-) Just kidding.

    Huckleberry is daring, but Huck is a cute nn, though it could lead to some less-than-nice teasing come middle school, unfortunately.

    Just trying to think of lots of aspects of the names…

    Good luck!

  2. That’s an excellent point about gender. (And thanks for the stats!)

    Most nature names are either feminine (Daisy, Jasmine, Lily, Poppy, Rose) or gender-neutral (Dale, Rain, River, Sage, Sky).

    If a parent wants a decidedly masculine nature name, I think the best bet is rocks: Rocky, Craig, Jett, Clay (Clayton), Stone (Dunstan, Stanford, Stanley, Winston, Wystan), Cliff (Clifford, Clifton, Radcliff), and maybe Jade or Jasper (…though those two seem to straddle the gender line nowadays).

  3. Oh – one name I left out of the post was Timothy. It’s not botanical, but it always makes me think of Timothy grass. So it’s an option-by-association. :)

  4. I agree about nature names. Though, if this parent-to-be expanded her choices from botanical to “nature-name” it would open up a lot more choices, since “botanical” limits it to plants (or that line), in my mind. I’m sure she has a personal reason for that choice, though – and that’s what makes a name special – that personal connection :)

    Other nature names for boys that immediately come to mind include Jay, Talon, Everest, Orion, Rio, Ridge, Thorn, & Ocean. Kai is Hawaiian for “sea”.

    And while Brook/Brooke is a girl’s name, Brooks is a hisorically male name, again, nature-related.

    All of the Jades & Skys I’ve heard of or met have been girls; all of the Jaspers have been boys. That’s just my experience with those names.

  5. Sedge Thomson, host of the nationally syndicated radio program West Coast Live (, occasionally delivers a very funny riff about the botanical origins of his name. (The sedges are grasslike non-grasses, in case you’re curious; papyrus is one genus of sedge.) In fact, Thomson’s first name is a nickname for Sedgefield, an old family name, but it makes a good story–and definitely an unusual name.

  6. I know that I am late on the scene…but botany is dear to my heart.

    You forgot Logan, Shad (bush), and why not Darwin, he was after all, a famous biologist. I would have mentioned Carol Linnae, but both of those names are now considered mainly feminine tho the botanist was male.

    Bartlet or Bradford (pear),
    Acer (Maple Genus),
    Ash (male co-worker),
    Salix (Willow Genus),
    Pyrus (Pear Genus),
    Narcissus (tho may have the greek overtones of the god that was overly vain),
    Helio(trope) as in sunflowers,
    Prunus (Cherry/Peach Genus, but may have propensity to later me heckled as penis),
    Ilex (Holly Genus, may also face a future of being called Alex),

    And I am spent.

    (PS how much do I love the name Everest now? & I had a male Gerbil named Cedar, he was the best rodent.)

  7. I just heard from Daniel! Here’s what he says:

    I have chosen Dalber for my baby boy. The name was taken from a tropical tree called Dalbergia oliverii. It was specially chosen for its tree character, beauty and elegance. This tree is a very well popular used among Landscape Architects in our local market.

    (His local market is Singapore.)

    Daniel also sent me a photo of the baby (very cute!) and a picture of the tree. Here’s more about the genus Dalbergia from Wikipedia.

  8. I also like botanical names. We chose Cosmo for our son after the cosmos growing like wild in our garden. For our daughter we chose Coriander. Now #3 is on the way. We have plenty of girls names but not so many if it’s a boy but these suggestions help.

  9. I actually named my boy Kale 6 years ago, not even knowing iy was a plant until my mom told me…. And also have a Lilli for a daughter…. Now im looking for a boy and girl name…. For a girl, we are thinking Catniss (sp?)

  10. These are some plant names that I’ve come up with:

    Girls’ names

    Boys’ names
    Laurence/Lawrence/Lorenzo (laurel)
    Sylvester (sylvan)

  11. I rather like the sound of Ember, Conifer (or I suppose you could spell it Connifer), and Hemlock

  12. I am having twins and already have a daughter named Briar. I don’t know the genders of my babies yet but so far I have 1 boy name, Bracken and 1 girl name, Ivy. I want to stick with plant/botanical names and I just think Bracken and Briar sound like brother and sister. I think Ivy is just so sweet.

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