How popular is the baby name Zinnia in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Zinnia and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Zinnia.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Zinnia

Number of Babies Named Zinnia

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Zinnia

20 Baby Names from Flowers – Kalmia, Magnolia, Begonia, Zinnia…

baby names from flowers

Spring is here!

Let’s celebrate with some flower names.

But not just any old flower names. Let’s check out some relatively modern flower names — flower names that came from genus names that were created from Latinized surnames.

Here’s a list of 20. Most of these are rarely used for humans, so if you’re looking for an unexpected nature name for a baby girl, this could be a good place to start.

abelia flowers
Abelia

Abelia

Pronunciation: ah-BEEL-yah

Abelia flowers are white or pink, and usually scented. The genus Abelia is part of the honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae).

Abelia was named for British surgeon and naturalist Clarke Abel (1780-1826). Clarke’s version of the surname Abel is likely based on the Hebrew name Abel, meaning “breath.” An identical German surname is based on a pet form of Albrecht, made up of elements meaning “noble” and “bright.”

The baby name Abelia is currently very rare.

allamanda flower
Allamanda

Allamanda

Pronunciation: ah-lah-MAHN-dah

Allamanda flowers are typically yellow, though some are pink. The genus Allamanda is part of the dogbane family (Apocynaceae).

Allamanda was named for Swiss botanist Frédéric-Louis Allamand (1736-1803). This French surname is based on the Middle French word meaning “German.”

The baby name Allamanda is currently very rare.

begonia flowers
Begonia

Begonia

Pronunciation: beh-GŌN-yah

Begonia flowers come in a wide range of colors: white, pink, peach, salmon, red, orange, yellow, etc. With close to 1,500 species, Begonia is the 6th-largest genus of flowering plants.

Begonia was named for French office-holder and plant collector Michel Bégon (1638-1710).

The baby name Begonia is currently very rare.

camellia flower
Camellia

Camellia

Pronunciation: kah-MEEL-yah

Camellia flowers are white, pink, red, and sometimes yellow. The genus Camellia is part of the Theaceae family. Leaves of the species Camellia sinensis are used to produce tea.

Camellia was named for Czech Jesuit missionary and botanist Georg Joseph Kamel (1661-1706). The surname Kamel is derived from a word meaning “camel.” Camels are not endemic to Europe, but they were commonly used on house signs in central Europe during the later Middle Ages.

The baby name Camellia is currently ranked 2,597th.

cattleya flower
Cattleya

Cattleya

Pronunciation: KAT-lee-yah

Cattleya flowers come in a range of colors: purple, orange, white, yellow, etc. The genus Cattleya is part of the orchid family (Orchidaceae).

Cattleya was named for English merchant and horticulturist William Cattley (1788-1835). The first element of the English surname Cattley is based on either Catta, a personal name, or a word meaning “(wild) cat.” The second comes from the Old English word leah, meaning “woodland; clearing.”

The baby name Cattleya is currently ranked 1,684th. It was very rare until a character named Cataleya was featured in the 2011 movie Columbiana. The character’s name was based on the genus name.

clintonia flowers
Clintonia

Clintonia

Pronunciation: klin-TŌN-ee-ah

Clintonia flowers are white, red, or green-yellow. The genus Clintonia is part of the lily family (Liliaceae).

Clintonia was named for U.S. politician and botanist De Witt Clinton (1769-1828). The English surname Clinton is based on one of two different place names. One place name was derived from Old English words meaning “enclosure, fence” + “settlement,” while the other means “Glyme (river)” + “settlement.”

The baby name Clintonia is currently very rare.

dahlia flower
Dahlia

Dahlia

Pronunciation: DAL-yah (first syllable can rhyme with “gal”, “doll,” or “dale”)

Dahlia flowers come in a wide range of colors. The genus Dahlia is part of the daisy family (Asteraceae).

Dahlia was named for Swedish botanist Anders Dahl (1751-1789). The Swedish surname Dahl is based on the Old Norse word dalr, meaning “dale, valley.”

The baby name Dahlia is currently within the top 1,000, ranked 719th.

forsythia flowers
Forsythia

Forsythia

Pronunciation: for-SĬTH-ee-ah or for-SĪTH-ee-ah (chiefly British English)

Forsythia flowers are bright yellow. The genus Forsythia is part of the olive family (Oleaceae).

Forsythia was named for Scottish botanist William Forsyth (1737-1804). The surname Forsyth is based on Fearsithe, a Gaelic personal name made up of the Gaelic words fear, meaning “man,” and sith, meaning “peace.”

The baby name Forsythia is currently very rare.

freesia flowers
Freesia

Freesia

Pronunciation: FREE-zhah, FREE-zhee-ah

Fragrant freesia flowers are white, yellow, pink, red, or blue-mauve. The genus Freesia is part of the iris family (Iridaceae).

Freesia was named for German botanist and doctor Friedrich Freese (1794-1878). The German surname Freese is based on an ethnic name for someone from Friesland.

The baby name Freesia is currently very rare.

gardenia flower
Gardenia

Gardenia

Pronunciation: gar-DEEN-yah

Gardenia flowers are white or pale yellow and strongly scented. The genus Gardenia is part of the coffee family (Rubiaceae).

Gardenia was named for Scottish-born American naturalist Alexander Garden (1730-1791). The English surname Garden is based on an occupational name for a gardener. It ultimately comes from the Old Norman French word gardin, meaning “garden.”

The baby name Gardenia is currently rare.

gazania flower
Gazania

Gazania

Pronunciation: gah-ZAY-nee-ah

Gazania flowers are shades of yellow and orange. The genus Gazania is part of the daisy family (Asteraceae), like Dahlia.

Gazania was named for Greek humanist Theodorus Gaza (1398-1475).

The baby name Gazania is currently very rare.

gloxinia flowers
Gloxinia

Gloxinia

Pronunciation: glok-SĬN-ee-ah

Gloxinia flowers are white, pink, red, blue or purple. The genus Gloxinia is part of the Gesneriaceae family.

Gloxinia was named for German physician and botanical writer Benjamin Peter Gloxin (1765–1794).

The baby name Gloxinia is currently very rare.

kalmia flowers
Kalmia

Kalmia

Pronunciation: KAHL-mee-ah

Kalmia flowers are white, pink or purple. The genus Kalmia is part of the heather family (Ericaceae).

Kalmia was named for Swedish-Finnish botanist Pehr Kalm (1716-1779).

The baby name Kalmia is currently very rare. (Years ago, a commenter mentioned that he’d named his daughter Kalmia.)

kerria flowers
Kerria

Kerria

Pronunciation: KĔR-ee-yah

Kerria flowers are bright yellow. The genus Kerria is part of the rose family (Rosaceae).

Kerria was named for Scottish gardener and plant hunter William Kerr (d. 1814). The Scottish surname Kerr is a topographic name referring to a patch of wet ground overgrown with brushwood. It ultimately comes from the Old Norse word kjarr, meaning “copsewood, brushwood, thicket.”

The baby name Kerria is currently very rare.

lobelia flowers
Lobelia

Lobelia

Pronunciation: lō-BEEL-yah; lō-BEEL-ee-ah

Lobelia flowers are purple, pink, white or blue. The genus Lobelia is part of the bellflower family (Campanulaceae).

Lobelia was named for Flemsih botanist Matthias de L’Obel (1538-1616).

The baby name Lobelia is currently very rare.

magnolia flower
Magnolia

Magnolia

Pronunciation: mag-NŌL-yah, mag-NŌL-ee-ah

Magnolia flowers are fragrant and come in white, pink, red, purple or yellow. Because they predate bees and butterflies, they’re typically pollinated by beetles.

The genus Magnolia was named for French botanist Pierre Magnol (1638-1715). The French surname Magnol may be based on either the Latin word magnus, meaning “great,” or on a French place name of uncertain derivation.

The baby name Magnolia is currently within the top 1,000, ranked 831st.

monarda flower
Monarda

Monarda

Pronunciation: moh-NAR-dah

Monarda flowers are various shades of red, pink, and purple, and highly scented. The genus Monarda is part of the mint family (Lamiaceae).

Monarda was named for Spanish physician and botanist Nicolás Monardes (1493-1588).

The baby name Monarda is currently very rare.

plumeria flowers
Plumeria

Plumeria

Pronunciation: ploo-MEER-ee-ah

Plumeria flowers (also known as frangipani) are very fragrant and come in several colors. The genus Plumeria is part of the dogbane family (Apocynaceae), like Allamanda.

Plumeria was named for French botanist Charles Plumier (1646-1704). The French surname Plumier is based on an occupational name for either a feather dresser or a plumber. The former occupational name ultimately comes from the Latin word plumarius, meaning “embroidered with feathers,” while the latter comes from the Latin word plumbum, meaning “lead.”

The baby name Plumeria is currently very rare.

wisteria flowers
Wisteria

Wisteria

Pronunciation: wis-TEER-ee-ah

Wisteria flowers are are purple, violet, pink or white, and often scented. The genus Wisteria is part of the bean family (Fabaceae).

Wisteria was named for American physician and anatomist Caspar Wistar (1761–1818). Caspar’s surname is a modified form of the German surname Wüster.

The baby name Wisteria is currently very rare.

zinnia flower with butterfly
Zinnia

Zinnia

Pronunciation: ZĬN-ee-ah, ZĬN-ya

Zinnia flowers come in a wide range of colors (red, purple, orange, buff, yellow, etc.) and shapes. The genus Zinnia is part of the daisy family (Asteraceae), like Dahlia and Gazania.

Zinnia was named for German anatomist and botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn (1727-1759). The German/Jewish surname Zinn is based on an occupational name for a pewter worker or tinsmith. It ultimately comes from the Germanic word zin, meaning “tin, pewter.”

The baby name Zinnia is currently ranked 2,136th.

*

What other surname-derived flower names would you add to this list?

*

Source: Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Images: All but one of the flower images in this post are in the public domain. They come from MorgueFile, Pixabay, National Park Service websites, and Wikimedia Commons. The gloxinia image was adapted from Gloxinia by abelard1005 under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.


Baby Name Needed – Girl Name for Twin Sister

A reader named Ayelet is expecting twins. She and her husband won’t be finding out the babies’ genders ahead of time, so they’d like to be prepared with two boy names and two girl names.

So far they’ve got August and Dominic for the boy names and Celia for one of the girl names. Once they select a second girl name they’ll be all set.

They’d like something that isn’t common (i.e. outside of the top 500). They’re considering Aliyah, Angelie, Aurelia, Eva, Isla, Juliet and Valentina, but Aliena is the current favorite:

The name we love is Aliena. She is a character in Ken Follett’s novel “The Pillars of the Earth,” which is set in twelfth-century England. But we can’t get past the “alien” in the name. I have an Alienor in my family tree, so I thought about going the Eleanor route, but I don’t like that spelling; I think I’m in love with that “Ali” sequence.

The baby’s surname will start and end with the letter n, like Nelson.

First, about Aliena. It’s a pretty name, but I’d also be worried about that “alien” association. I don’t know if I’d risk it as a first name, but it might work well as a middle.

The only alternative I can come up with is Eliana, which is an (unrelated) anagram of Aliena. But it’s ranked 193rd and climbing, so it might be a bit too popular.

Here are some other possibilities. None of these are currently in the top 500, and the ones with asterisks have a-l-i sequences.

Adina
Antonia
Amity
Adele/Adeline
Anneliese
Beatrice
Catalina*
Callista
Coralie*
Corinna
Davina
Estella
Elsa
Eloise
Esme
Flavia
Ginevra
Gwendolyn
Helena
Irina
Isadora
Judith/Judy
Leona
Lavinia
Marina
Martina
Mara
Olive
Oriana
Odette
Paulina
Regina
Rosalie*
Rosaline*
Theresa
Vera
Viola
Verity
Venetia
Zinnia

Finally, there’s the option of simply feminizing one of the boy names. August could become Augusta or Augustina; Dominic could become Dominique or Dominica.

Which of the above girl names do you like best with August, Dominic and/or Celia? What other girl names would you suggest to Ayelet?

Popular and Unique Names in England and Wales, 2008

Don’t get too excited — these aren’t the top names for 2009. (If only!)

Why am I posting old news? Because I recently found a more complete version of the 2008 list that goes all the way down to baby names used in England and Wales just three times. So, the top-ranked names may be old news, but the rest are new. (New to me, anyway.) Here goes:

Boys Girls
Popular Names Jack
Oliver
Thomas
Harry
Joshua
Olivia
Ruby
Emily
Grace
Jessica
Unusual names
(# of babies)
Spike (23)
Willoughby (22)
Ziggy (20)
Ptolemy (19)
Zidane (13)
Zinedine (12)
Kal-El (10)
Hendrix (9)
Humphrey (8)
Elan (6)
Gruff (6)
Legend (6)
Achilles (5)
Amen (5)
Bright (5)
Jesse-James (5)
Tennyson (5)
Darlington (4)
James-Dean (4)
Courage (3)
Freedom (3)
Messiah (3)
Remus (3)
Riquelme (3)
Seven (3)
Bluebell (20)
Primrose (17)
Temperance (13)
Breeze (11)
Cleopatra (11)
Sorrel (11)
Tigerlily (9)
Tirion (9)
Comfort (8)
Peaches (8)
Pebbles (8)
Beyonce (7)
Miami (7)
Zinnia (7)
Godiva (6)
Mercades (5)
Panashe (5)
Tulip (5)
Wednesday (5)
Magenta (4)
Boadicea (3)
Cayenne (3)
Kimora-Lee (3)
Plum (3)
Rejoice (3)

And now, just for fun, let’s compare usage in England to usage in America:

Name # UK* Boys # UK Girls # U.S. Boys # U.S. Girls
Avery 4 6 1,731 5,758
Harper 18 20 244 1,108
Mackenzie
Makenzie
Mckenzie
361
28
462
53
9
66
?**
?
?
4,425
2,048
2,258
Riley 2,201 63 4,076 5,701
Total*** 363,000 346,000 2,150,000 2,060,000

*By UK, I mean England and Wales. Not an accurate substitution, I know. But “England and Wales” is just way too long for that spot.
**The 1,000th name on the U.S. top 1,000 was used for 192 baby boys. So the question marks represent some number between 0 and 192.
***Update: Kelly has astutely pointed out that raw numbers can be misleading. I’m not going to change the chart — I’m just too lazy — but I’ve thrown in some rough totals, for context.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Don’t Commit to a Name Pattern Until You Read These 3 Tips

Humans love patterns. Just look last year’s list of popular twin names:

Jacob & Joshua
Daniel & David
Jayden & Jordan
Ethan & Evan
Taylor & Tyler
Gabriella & Isabella
Isaac & Isaiah
Madison & Morgan
Elijah & Isaiah
Ella & Emma

Eight pairs start with the same letter. Seven have the same rhythm. Another seven end with the same letter (and many of these nearly rhyme).

For twins and other multiples, sticking with a name pattern is easy. You know the number of children and their genders ahead of time.

But what if you want a name pattern for an entire sibling set? That can make things tricky. You don’t know how many children you’ll have, or what their genders will be. You also don’t know how your tastes may change over time.

If you’re thinking about a name pattern to cover all of your kids, here are three pieces of advice to consider before you begin:

Don’t lock yourself into something limiting.
Let’s say you like flowers. You have a daughter and you name her Lily. You have another daughter and name her Rose. Then another, Jasmine. And then a fourth, but…you don’t like any other flower names. Iris? Too old. Poppy? Too young. Zinnia? Too weird. Amaryllis will never be spelled correctly. And Daisy is the golden retriever down the street.

Or, let’s say you have a son named Alexander. Then you have another boy, and you decide to name him Xavier so they both have that X in common. Then baby #3–a little girl–comes along. Well, you can’t do Alexis–that’s too close to Alexander. You won’t go near Maxine because you fear maxi pad jokes. Roxanne reminds you too much of that song. Xena reminds you too much of that show. And Beatrix makes you think of rabbits.

When you play chess, you have to think ahead several moves. Look at sibling name patterns the same way. Think ahead as many kids as possible. If you can think of 10 or more usable names that fit the pattern, it’s probably a safe pattern. If you can’t, the pattern may be too limiting to be sustainable.

Consider the pros and cons of visibility.
Have you heard of the Duggars? They have nearly 20 kids, and all of those kids have a J-name. This type of name pattern is one of the easiest to spot. (Especially in large families.)

But name patterns don’t have to be obvious. Let’s say your children will have a whole bunch of aunts and uncles you’d like to honor with baby names. You make a list of their names and simply pick from this list as you have children. In this case, the pattern (aunt and uncle names) is so subtle that it’s basically a family secret.

Here are some example name patterns, ranging from blatant to barely there:

Very conspicuous: First letters (Lou, Leah, Len, Lila)
Rhyme (Aiden, Hayden, Kaeden, Graydon)
Like-sounds (Meredith, Heath, Edith, Griffith)
Theme (Indigo, Scarlet, Tawny, Cyan)
Kinda conspicuous: Alphabetical (Alfred, Bea, Chester, Diana)
Rhythm (Augustus, Miranda, Dakota, Lorenzo)
Source (Juliet, Yorick, Orlando, Cordelia)
Origin (Duncan, Angus, Una, Lachlan)
Inconspicuous: Number of letters (Jason, Frank, Kelly, Alexa)
Spread-out alphabetical (Brian, Elaine, Laura, Paul)
Letter in common (Abigail, Sebastian, Tobias, Isabella)
Chain [last letters into first letters] (Michael, Lauren, Nora, Andrew)

How can you test the visibility of a particular pattern? Make a list of names that fit the pattern. Pick two at random and give them to a friend. Ask that friend what the two names have in common. Did she get it on the first try? Was she unable to guess at all? That should give you a good idea about where the pattern would fall on the spectrum.

Avoid sets of names that have an endpoint.
Your first son is Luke. The next is Sky. The next is Walker. And then…surprise! Son #4. Now what–Anakin? Darth? Chewbacca?

If you start off with a discrete set of names, the universe will laugh at you and you will either:

  • not have enough kids, or
  • have too many kids

to match the number of names in the set. Murphy’s Law in action. So don’t tempt fate–stick with an open-ended theme that could end at two names or continue to ten.

What other suggestions would you give to parents considering name patterns?

Source: SSA

10 Never-Ranked Flower, Tree and Herb Names

TansyLooking for flower names that aren’t as run-of-the-mill as Lily, Daisy and Rose? Here are ten great botanical baby names that have never ranked in the U.S. top 1,000:

  • Zinnia – Cute and quirky. Many people I talk to really like this name.
  • Cedar – I see this name being used more and more often for both genders.
  • Maile (MY-lee) – Hawaiian flowering vine commonly used for making leis.
  • Bryony – The variant Briony was the name of the protagonist in Ian McEwan’s book Atonement.
  • Camellia – Especially appropriate for tea-lovers, as tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.
  • Poppy – Currently the 30th most popular baby name in England and Wales.
  • Azalea – Very distinguished-sounding.
  • Tansy – Said to be derived from a Late Latin word meaning “undying.”
  • Acacia – A genus of thorny tress and shrubs. Reminds me of the name Alicia.
  • Juniper – Bears a resemblance to Jennifer and shortens neatly to June.

There are other good, uncommon floral names (Jonquil, Betony, Saffron) out there as well, but I thought the 10 above would be the most appealing to today’s parents.

UPDATE, 1/5/14: Azalea and Juniper are no longer never-ranked names! Juniper entered the top 1,000 in 2011 and Azalea in 2012.

Name of the Day – Zinnia

zinnia with butterflyZinnias are popular, butterfly-attracting garden flowers that come in a range of vivid colors.

They’re part of the Zinnia genus, which was named in honor of German botanist and anatomist Johann Gottfried Zinn (1727-1759). The surname Zinn was derived from a German/Jewish occupational name for a tinsmith.

As a baby name, Zinnia is rare but on the rise. It could be a great choice for parents who want something floral and feminine, but still a bit quirky.

It didn’t rank among the top 1,000 baby girl names in the U.S. in 2005, but similar names did, including flower names Jasmine (#29) and Lily (#39) and Z-names Zoe (#59) and Zaria (#721).

Update, March 2016: Zinnia has been picking up steam lately. Here’s the raw number usage from 2005 to 2014 (the most recent year on record):

  • 2014: 89 baby girls named Zinnia
  • 2013: 75 baby girls named Zinnia
  • 2012: 53 baby girls named Zinnia
  • 2011: 54 baby girls named Zinnia
  • 2010: 47 baby girls named Zinnia
  • 2009: 40 baby girls named Zinnia
  • 2008: 36 baby girls named Zinnia
  • 2007: 26 baby girls named Zinnia
  • 2006: 41 baby girls named Zinnia

It’s not in the top 1,000 yet, but could be there within the next few years if usage continues inching upward.

Of the 89 Zinnias born in 2014, 10 were born in California, 8 in Oregon, 7 in Florida, 6 in New York, and 5 in Illinois.