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, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Zinnia.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Zinnia


Posts that Mention the Name Zinnia

Baby names associated with purple: Violet, Tyrian, Zi

plums

Looking for baby names that are associated with purple — including baby names that mean “purple”?

If so, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve collected dozens of options for you in this post.

Before we get to the names, though, let’s take a quick look at what the color purple represents…

Symbolism of purple

What does the color purple signify?

In Western cultures in particular, purple can be symbolic of:

  • Royalty
  • Nobility
  • Wisdom
  • Luxury
  • Imagination
  • Mystery
  • Spirituality

The color came to be identified with royalty and nobility during ancient times. In those days, creating purple dye for fabric was laborious and time-consuming, so the dye was very expensive. As a result, only the wealthy could afford to wear purple-colored clothing.

Top baby names associated with purple

Determining the top names in a category isn’t difficult when you’re working with a well-defined category, like PH names. When it comes to names that have a connection to the color purple, however, we need to account for the fact that certain names have a stronger connection than others.

With that in mind, here are the top baby names that have an obvious association with the color purple:

  1. Violet
  2. Iris
  3. Violeta
  4. Violette
  5. Amethyst

Now here are the same five names again, but this time around I’ve added some details (including definitions, rankings, and popularity graphs).

Violet

The word violet refers to any flowering plant of the genus Viola — particularly the fragrant species Viola odorata — or to any similar-looking flowering plant. By extension, it also refers to the bluish-purple color of these flowers.

Violet is currently the 35th most popular girl name in the U.S.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Violet in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Violet

Iris

The word iris can refer to several things, including flowering plants of the genus Iris, the name of which comes from the ancient Greek word for “rainbow.” The showy blooms of these plants come in a variety of colors (as the name suggests), though we often think of irises as being shades of purple.

For instance, did you know that all of the irises in Vincent van Gogh’s various paintings were once purple? His irises now appear blue only because the red pigment he used to create the purple has faded over time.

Iris is currently the 107th most popular girl name in the nation.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Iris in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Iris

Violeta

The name Violeta is a form of Violet used in Spanish, Romanian, Serbian, Bulgarian, and other languages.

Violeta is currently the 893rd most popular girl name in the U.S.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Violeta in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Violeta

Violette

The name Violette is a form of Violet used in French.

Violette is currently the 1,033rd most popular girl name in the nation.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Violette in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Violette

Amethyst

The word amethyst refers to a purple variety of the mineral quartz. (The ancient Greeks thought that amethyst — perhaps due to its wine-like color — would prevent drunkenness, so they called it amethustos, meaning “not intoxicating.”) By extension, the word also refers to the purple color of these crystals.

Amethyst will only form in quartz that: (a) contains trace amounts of iron, and (b) is exposed to low-level gamma radiation. The radiation will oxidize the iron, and thereby change the crystal’s color from clear to purple.

Amethyst is currently the 1,148th most popular girl name in the U.S.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Amethyst in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Amethyst

More names associated with purple

Ready for the rest?

All the names below are associated with the color purple. The names range from traditional to unusual, and their associations range from strong to slight.

Those that have been popular enough to appear in the U.S. baby name data are linked to their corresponding popularity graphs.

purple flowers (Aubrieta)
Aubrieta
  • Amaranth flowers are sometimes purple. The genus name Amaranthus is derived from a combination of the ancient Greek words amarantos, meaning “unfading,” and anthos, meaning “flower.”
  • Aster flowers are often purple. The genus name Aster, derived from the ancient Greek word aster, meaning “star,” is a reference to the shape of the flower head.
  • Aubrieta flowers are commonly purple. The genus Aubrieta was named in honor of French botanical artist Claude Aubriet.
  • Banafsha is a Persian feminine name meaning “violet.”
  • Betony flowers are usually purple. “Betony” is the common name of plants in the genus Stachys.
  • Bíbor (pronounced BEE-bor) is a Hungarian masculine name based on the word bíbor, meaning “purple.”
    • Bíborka is a feminine form of Bíbor.
  • Bora is a Korean feminine name meaning “purple.” (Though the name has appeared in the U.S. data, this probably reflects the usage of the identical Albanian name, which means “snow.”)
  • Fjóla (pronounced FYOH-lah) is an Icelandic and Faroese name meaning “violet.”
    • Fjólar is the masculine form of Fjóla.
  • Gladiola refers to Gladiolus, a genus of plants with flowers that are sometimes purple. The genus name, meaning “little sword” (a diminutive of the Latin word gladius, “sword”) refers to the shape of the leaves.
The Jimi Hendrix album "Are You Experienced" (1967)
Jimi Hendrix album
  • Haze (besides being a vocabulary word) is part of “Purple Haze” [vid] — the title of the song by Jimi Hendrix. “Purple Haze” was the opening track of the iconic album Are You Experienced (1967).
  • Heather flowers are usually purple. “Heather” is the common name of plants in the genus Calluna.
  • Honesty (besides being a vocabulary word) is also the common name of the plant species Lunaria annua, which has flowers that are frequently purple. The common name is likely a reference to the translucence of the seed pods.
  • Hyacinth flowers are often purple. The genus Hyacinthus was named for the plant’s association with the myth of Hyacinthus (who was one of the lovers of Apollo in Greek mythology).
    • Giacinta is the Italian feminine form of Hyacinth.
    • Giacinto is the Italian masculine form of Hyacinth.
    • Jacinta is the Spanish and Portuguese feminine form of Hyacinth.
    • Jacinto is the Spanish and Portuguese masculine form of Hyacinth.
  • Ianthe, which means “violet flower,” is derived from a combination of the ancient Greek words ion, meaning “violet,” and anthos, meaning “flower.”
    • Iantha is a variant of Ianthe.
  • Iole (pronounced IE-oh-lee) is based on the ancient Greek word ion, meaning “violet.” In Greek myth, Iole was one of Heracles’ many objects of desire.
    • Iola is a variant of Iole.
  • Ione (pronounced ie-OH-nee) is also based on the ancient Greek word ion, meaning “violet.”
    • Iona could be considered a variant of Ione, though more often it’s a reference to the Scottish island of Iona.
  • Jacaranda flowers are purple. The genus name Jacaranda is derived from a Tupi-Guarani word meaning “fragrant.”
  • Lavender flowers are typically purple. “Lavender” is the common name of plants in the genus Lavandula. The genus name is derived from the Latin word lividus, meaning “bluish,” and/or the Latin word lavare, meaning “to wash” (due to aromatic lavender being used in washing and bathing).
  • Lilac flowers are frequently purple. “Lilac” is the common name of plants in the genus Syringa.
    • Lila is the Swedish form of Lilac, though the name also has other possible meanings (e.g., “play” in Sanskrit, “night” in Arabic).
    • Liila is the Finnish form of Lilac.
  • Lupine flowers are often purple. The genus name Lupinus is derived from the Latin word lupinus, meaning “wolfish” (from lupus, “wolf”).
  • Magenta is a reddish-purple color. A French chemist first synthesized magenta-colored dye in the late 1850s, and the color was eventually named “Magenta” in honor of the French-Sardinian victory at the Battle of Magenta (1859).
  • Murasaki is a Japanese feminine name meaning “purple.” Originally it referred to the gromwell plant, the root of which was used to make purple dye.
  • Orchid flowers are sometimes purple. Orchids are all members of the Orchidaceae family of plants.
  • Phoenix refers to the mythical bird, but the name of that bird was based on the ancient Greek word phoinix, meaning “purple” or “crimson.”
  • Plum fruits are commonly purple. Plum trees are part of the genus Prunus.
  • Porphyrios was an ancient Greek name derived from the word porphyra, meaning “purple dye, purple.”
    • Porphyrius is the Latinized form of Porphyrios.
    • Porfirio is the modern Spanish masculine form of Porphyrios.
    • Porfiria is the modern Spanish feminine form of Porphyrios.
    • Porfiriy is the modern Russian masculine form of Porphyrios.
  • Purple, which can also be traced back to the ancient Greek word porphyra, is rarely used as a given name…though I did spot a girl named Purple in Los Angeles’ baby name data a few years back.
rebeccapurple
  • Rebecca is part of “rebeccapurple” — the name of the shade of purple with the hex value #663399. The color name pays tribute to Rebecca Meyer, the daughter of web design pioneer Eric Meyer. Rebecca, whose favorite color was purple, passed away on her 6th birthday (in mid-2014). The biblical name Rebecca is ultimately derived from the Semitic root r-b-q, meaning “to tie” or “to secure.”
  • Sigalit is a Hebrew feminine name meaning “violet.”
  • Sumire (pronounced soo-mee-reh) is a Japanese name that can mean “violet,” depending upon the kanji being used to write the name.
  • Temenuzhka is a Bulgarian feminine name meaning “violet.”
  • Thistle flowers are usually purple. “Thistle” is the common name of various prickly plants, most of which are in the Asteraceae family.
  • Twila may be based on the English word “twilight.” During twilight, the sky can turn various shades of purple.
    • Twyla is a variant of Twila.
  • Tyrian (pronounced TEE-ree-uhn) is part of “Tyrian purple” — the name of the expensive purple dye used during ancient times that I mentioned earlier. The source of the dye was a type of sea snail found in the Mediterranean, near the city of Tyre (now part of Lebanon). The city name can be traced back to the Hebrew word tsor, meaning “rock,” as the settlement was originally built upon a rocky formation.
twilight
  • Verbena flowers are sometimes purple. The genus name Verbena is derived from the Latin word verbena, which referred to the leaves, twigs, and branches of specific plants (like laurel, olive, and myrtle) that were used during religious ceremonies.
  • Vernonia flowers are typically purple. The genus Vernonia was named in honor of English botanist William Vernon.
  • Viola is based on the Latin word viola, meaning “violet.” In fact, the genus Viola includes many (though not all) violet flowers.
    • Ibolya is a Hungarian form of Viola.
    • Violia is an elaboration of Viola.
    • Violanda is another elaboration of Viola.
    • Viorica is a Romanian form of Viola.
  • Violett is a variant of Violet.
  • Violetta is an Italian and Hungarian form of Violet.
  • Wisteria (pronounced wuh-STEE-ree-uh) flowers are frequently light purple. The genus Wisteria was named in honor of American physician and anatomist Caspar Wistar.
  • Yolanda may have been derived from the medieval European feminine name Violante, which was based on the Latin word viola, “violet.”
    • Yolande is the French form of Yolanda.
    • Jolanda is the Dutch form of Yolanda.
    • Iolanda is the Portuguese and Italian form of Yolanda.
    • Iolanthe may be a variant of Yolanda influenced by the name Ianthe.
  • Yukari is a Japanese feminine name that can mean “purple,” depending upon the kanji being used to write the name.
    • Yukariko is a Japanese name that can include the element Yukari.
  • Zi (third tone) is a Chinese name that can mean “purple,” depending upon the glyph being used to write the name.
    • Ziming is a Chinese name that can include the element Zi.
    • Ziyang is another Chinese name that can include the element Zi.
  • Zinnia flowers are sometimes purple. The genus Zinnia was named in honor of German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn.

Can you think of any other names that have a connection to the color purple?

Sources:

First, second, and last images by congerdesign from Pixabay, Hans from Pixabay, and Chapman Chow from Unsplash

Popular baby names in Casper (Wyoming), 2020

In 2020, the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper welcomed 892 babies. The names of about 620 of these babies were shared online via the hospital’s website. A few days ago, the hospital “mined those announcements for our most popular names list for 2020,” finding that the most frequently occurring names for girls was Paisley and for boys was Jackson.

I don’t usually post rankings from non-governmental sources, but, in this case, there were just so many names in comparison to the size of the city (about 58,000 residents) that I decided to go ahead and publish the full list…

10 babies named:

  • Jackson (Jaxen, Jaxon, Jaxson, Jaxxon)

7 babies named:

  • Logan
  • Oliver
  • Paisley (Paizlee, Paizleigh)

6 babies named:

  • Adaline (Adeline, Adalyn, Adalynn, Addilynn)
  • Amelia (Emelia, Emilia)
  • Emma
  • Grayson
  • Reilly (Rieleigh, Riely, Riley, Ryleigh)
  • Sawyer

5 babies named:

  • Cooper
  • Everlee (Everleigh, Everly)
  • Oakleigh (Oakley)
  • Theodore

4 babies named:

  • Addison (Addyson)
  • Asher
  • Ava
  • Benjamin
  • Caysen (Kasen, Kason)
  • Charlie (Charlee, Charles)
  • Everette
  • Isabella (Izabella, Izzabella)
  • Kinsleigh (Kinsley)
  • Nathan
  • Wyatt

3 babies named:

Adrian, Alexander, Ashton (Ashtyn), Aspen, Aurora, Bennett, Blake (Blayke), Bristol, Brixley (Brixleigh, Brixli), Brooklyn, Carter, Christian, David, Declan (Deklynn), Elijah, Elizabeth, Ella, Ellie, Ethan, Ezra, Grace, Hunter, Holden, Jack, Layla, Leo, Liam, Lyla (Lilah), Lincoln, Lorenzo, Lydia, Lyra, Mason, Noah, Olivia, Owen, Richard, Rilynn (Ryelin, Ryelynn), Rowan (Rowen), Ryker, Skyla, Sophia (Sofia)

2 babies named:

Aiden/Aidyn, Allison/Alyson, Amara, Annabelle, Arya, Aubriella, Averie/Avery, Barrett, Bentley, Bodhi/Bodie, Braxton, Bryar/Bryor, Brynlee, Caroline, Carson/Karson, Catherine/Katherine, Colt, Colten/Colton, Damian, Daniel, Daxton, Dayton, Dylan, Eli, Eliana, Elliot, Emerson/Emersyn, Emery/Emory, Evelyn, Finley, Gabriella, Gentry, Harmony, Harper, Harrison, Haven/Hayven, Hayden, Hazel, Hazely/Hazleigh, Henry, Hudson, Ian, Isaac, Isaiah, Islah/Islla, Jasper, Jaxtyn, Jayden, Joel, Julian, Julius, Justin, Kaiser/Kaizer, Kamara, Kaysen/Kayson, Kellen, Kennedi/Kenydee, Kenzlee/Kenzleigh, Kinley/Kynleigh, Kyran/Kyren, Leighton/Leyten, Lenix/Lennox, Levi, Lorelai/Lorelei, Madeline/Madelyn, Malachi, Malaya/Maleah, Maria/Meriah, Maverick, Maya, Mila, Miles, Millie, Naomi, Natalia, Nevaeh, Parker, Paul, Penelope, Rachael/Rachel, Rae/Rey, Raylan, Ronan, Ryder, Samantha, Samuel, Sara/Sarah, Savanna/Savannah, Scarlett, Sebastian, Silas/Sylias, Skylar/Skyler, Spencer, Sydney/Sidney, Tenslee/Tensley, Theo, Weston/Westin, Violet, Zachary, Zoey

1 baby named:

  • Abel, Abraham, Ace, Adam, Adonis, Aeris, Adrian, Aiden, Aksel, Aleassia, Alexandria, Alianna, Allen, Ambrose, Amias, Amiya, Anderson, Angel, Anika, Annalynn, Annie, Anson, Antonina, Archer, Ariella, Ariya, Armando, Arrow, Ashlyn, Athena, Aubree, August, Augustus, Avaianna, Aynslee, Azariah, Azayla
  • Bailey, Baylor, Beau, Becklynn, Bella, Berklie, Bethany, Bonnie, Bradley, Braitton, Branson, Brantley, Braxley, Brayden, Braylee, Brennan, Brexton, Brian, Briggson, Brittany, Brixon, Brock, Broden, Bronx, Brooks, Brylee, Burke
  • Caelan, Cain, Callie, Callum, Calvin, Cameron, Cannon, Carilina, Case, Cash, Charisma, Chasyn, Chloe, Christopher, Ciella, Claire, Cody, Colby, Collyn, Colter, Cree, Crew, Cullen, Cuyler
  • Dailyn, Dakota, Dani, Dean, Delilah, Destin, Diesel, Divine, Douglas, Draco, Draeden
  • Ebony, Eccho, Edison, Eleanor, Elias, Elivia, Ellen, Ellis, Ember, Emily, Emmanuel, Emmie, Emmitt, England, Etta, Evan, Evander, Ezmae
  • Felix, Francis, Fredrick, Freya
  • Genevieve, George, Gideon, Graham, Grey, Griffin
  • Hodassah, Haddie, Hadley, Hailey, Harlan, Harley, Harlow, Harris, Harvey, Hayes, Hendrix, Henleigh
  • Icelynn, Ily, Isabelle, Isaias, Ivan, Ivy, Iylah
  • Jaden, Jaime, Jalin, James, Jameson, Jase, Javier, Jayce, Jaycee, Jayson, Jeremiah, Jessica, Jessie, Jett, JJ, Joanna, John, Jojo, Jolie, Jonah, Jonathan, Josephine, Josie, Joyce, Jude, Julie, June
  • Kade, Kaelyn, Kaiden, Kaii, Kaleah, Kamari, Kambry, Kambryn, Kamdyn, Kane, Karalynn, Kaspian, Kaylee, Kaylynn, Keaton, Keenston, Keira, Kenai, Kendrey, Kevin, Keylin, Khaos, Kieran, Killian, Kimber, Kimora, Kit, Klarke, Kodah, Koen, Kolby, Kole, Korah, Korbyn, Koy, Kyara, Kyden, Kylie, Kyson
  • Lainey, Lakelyn, Lance, Laramie, Laura, Layne, Legend, Lennon, Leopold, Lillian, Lilliean, Lillyanna, Lily, Lola, Londyn, Lorraine, Luca, Lucius, Luke, Lynlee, Lyvie
  • Macie, Macklin, Maddison, Maddox, Mae, Maevelyn, Maggie, Maisey, Mandy, Marceline, Margaret, Mario, Marisa, Marisol, Marleigh, Mary, Mateo, Matthias, Mavis, Maxwell, Mazikeen, Mckenzie, Meadow, Melia, Melody, Merrik, Merritt, Meyer, Mia, Michael, Michelle, Miklo, Milo, Mira, Montana, Myra
  • Nancy, Nash, Natalie, Nathaneil, Naylin, Nehemiah, Nicholas, Nolen, Nora, Nova, Nylin
  • Oaks, Onyx, Oraya, Orian, Orin, Ostara
  • Paxton, Persephone, Presley, Pyper
  • Quincy
  • Rableen, Raeleah, Raven, Reed, Relik, Remi, Remington, Renato, Revi, Rhett, Riatta, Riggs, Rodolfo, Rogan, Roman, Rosalee, Rosemarie, Rowdy, Roxas, Roy, Ruby, Ryann, Ryatt, Ryott
  • Sadie, Sage, Sandra, Saphira, Seraphina, Serenah, Serenity, Shadow, Shelby, Sheridan, Shyanne, Simon, Skadi, Skylynn, Solveig, Sophie, Sorin, Stella, Sterling, Stetley, Storey, Sturgis, Sutton, Sylar, Sylvia
  • Tala, Talia, Tareyn, Tate, Tavin, Taylee, Teagan, Tennyson, Tess, Tessin, Theotis, Thomas, Tillie, Tinlee, Titan, Tobin, Travis, Trenton, Trexton, Tripp, Turner
  • Vada, Vanessa, Vera, Vincent
  • Walker, Watson, Waylon, Westley, Wilder, Wiley, William
  • Xavier, Xia, Xililah, Ximena
  • Yianeli
  • Zachariah, Zaydin, Zayne, Zeppelin, Zinnia, Zoe

Source: Casper’s most popular baby names, 2020 – Wyoming Medical Center

Popular and unique baby names in Iowa, 2016

I love that the Social Security Administration releases so much baby name data to the public. But I’ve always had mixed feelings about that 5-baby threshold for inclusion. (Due to privacy concerns, the government doesn’t release names given to fewer than 5 babies per gender, per year.)

Part of me appreciates the threshold. For instance, I like that it adds significance to the pop culture-inspired debut names I’m always posting about, as these names had to hit a certain minimum level of usage in order to register in the data.

But the other part of me? The other part just really, really wants to see those rare/crazy names at the bottom of the list.

So I get excited when I find U.S. data from an official source that does go down to single-instance usage. Up until recently, I only knew about Sonoma County and Los Angeles County, but recently I discovered that Iowa (an entire state!) also releases down-to-1 baby name data. Yay!

But before we get to the rare names, let’s look at the state of Iowa’s top baby names of 2016:

Girl Names
1. Olivia, 203 baby girls
2. Emma, 181
3. Charlotte, 158
4. Harper, 156
5. Ava & Evelyn, 148 each (2-way tie)
6. Amelia, 125
7. Nora, 123
8. Sophia, 112
9. Addison, 101
10. Grace, 96

Boy Names
1. Oliver, 197 baby boys
2. Owen, 178
3. William, 174
4. Wyatt, 170
5. Henry, 165
6. Liam, 159
7. Noah, 149
8. Benjamin, 148
9. Jackson, 144
10. Lincoln, 123

  • In the girls’ top 10, Addison and Grace replaced Avery.
  • In the boys’ top 10, Benjamin and Lincoln replaced Mason and Elijah.
  • In 2015, the top two names were Emma and Liam.

(The SSA rankings for Iowa are similar, but not exactly the same. One notable difference on is that the SSA ranks Grayson 10th on the boys list, and puts Lincoln down in 13th.)

And now for the rarities!

Iowa’s website offers interactive baby name usage graphs that include all names bestowed at least once from 2000 to 2016. Here’s a sampling of rare baby names in Iowa (2000-2016 usage):

Girl NamesBoy Names
Arabia (1)
Bishop (1)
Currency (1)
Dream (3)
Eros (1)
Fairy (1)
Gatsby (1)
Heritage (1)
Irish (5)
Jasper (1)
KeyEssence (1)
Lisbon (1)
Michigan (1)
Nirvana (3)
Orchid (1)
PairoDice (1)
Qy (1)
Reminisce (1)
Scully (1)
Tear (1)
Unity (4)
Veruca (1)
Windy (2)
Xanadu (1)
Yawh (1)
Zinnia (1)
Arcade (1)
Banksy (1)
Cactus (1)
Denali (2)
Elvis (18)
Fonzy (1)
Galaxy (1)
Helium (1)
Indigo (2)
Jeep (3)
Kal-El (3)
Lightning (1)
Mowgli (1)
Notorious (1)
Opttimus (1)
Player (1)
Quest (3)
Racer (3)
Sanctify (1)
Tavern (1)
Universe (1)
Vegas (1)
Winner (4)
Xyn (1)
Young-Sky (1)
Zealand (1)

If you decide to dig through the data, leave a comment and let me know what you spot!

And if you’re friends with any expectant parents in Iowa, tell those lucky ducks that they have access to full sets of baby name rankings for their state. Either send them a link to this post or to one of the pages below…

Sources: Top Baby Names – Iowa Department of Public Health, Baby Names Popularity Over Time – Iowa Department of Public Health

Update, 2020: The above links no longer work; here’s an updated link to the Iowa baby names.

Top 50 nature names for baby girls

Nature is waking up again! Let’s celebrate by checking out which nature names are the most popular for baby girls right now. Ironically the top 50 list below includes all the seasons except for “Spring,” but it does feature lots of springtime things: flowers, birds, trees…

nature names, girl names, top 50, baby names,

For this list I stuck to names that are also correctly spelled English words. This means that I skipped names that are non-English words (like Stella and Luna) and alternative spellings of words (like Brooke and Briar). I should also mention that several of the above (including Rowan, Robin, and Clementine) do have more than one etymology to choose from.

Here are links to the popularity graphs:

1-1011-2021-3031-4041-50
Lily
Violet
Hazel
Autumn
Ruby
Willow
Jasmine
Jade
Ivy
Rose
Daisy
Summer
Iris
Olive
Rowan
Amber
River
Ember
Aspen
Sage
Magnolia
Meadow
Wren
Ivory
Laurel
Sky
Clementine
Dahlia
Juniper
Raven
Holly
Savanna
Rosemary
Winter
Crystal
Azalea
Pearl
Jewel
Heather
Robin
Diamond
Poppy
Opal
Sunny
Coral
Emerald
Clover
Pepper
Sapphire
Amethyst

Which nature name(s) do you like best?

P.S. Nature names that didn’t quite make the top 50 included Stormy, Zinnia, Sandy, and Acacia.

20 Baby names from flowers: Kalmia, Magnolia, Begonia, Zinnia

baby names from flowers

Spring is here! Let’s celebrate with some flower names.

But let’s do something a little different. Instead of the same old suggestions, like Lily and Rose, let’s check out some relatively modern flower names that ultimately come from Latinized surnames (via genus names).

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 is 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-G?N-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-T?N-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-S?TH-ee-ah or for-S?TH-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-S?N-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: K?R-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: l?-BEEL-yah; l?-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-N?L-yah, mag-N?L-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: Z?N-ee-ah, Z?N-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.

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

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Source: Hanks, Patrick. (Ed.) 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.