If you’re an expecting parent searching for a fresh name, the great outdoors has lots to offer. The universe presents remarkable sights at every turn. As the world evolves, so do names.
A name inspired by Mother Nature may seem like a hippie throwback, yet these names have a timeless appeal. And with the rise of environmentalism comes a renewed interest in earthy names.
Technically, all nature-inspired names are unisex. The universe is fair game. Still, you probably wouldn’t use Summer for a boy, or Stone for a girl. Some names slant masculine, some slant feminine, but many have a neutral tone.
We have rounded up 10 monikers that are borrowed from the natural world. They emerge from various categories, including animals, flowers, bodies of water, trees, and landmarks on our planet. If you find these names too unusual, keep them in mind for middle names.
Whether you are a naturalist, or you just want your child to have a connection to the Earth, consider one of these nature-inspired names. It may give you a brand new appreciation of the beauty that surrounds us.
10 Colt (boy name)
Colt may not be as popular as his equestrian cousins Roan and Marshall, but this may be a plus if you prefer unconventionality. The name, which means “young male horse,” has English origins. A male foal is strong in body and spirit. These are fine traits to bestow on a baby boy.
The short, macho name has a connection to football, as the Indianapolis Colts is a team in the National Football League (NFL.) Since Samuel Colt invented the revolver, perhaps the association with guns or with Colt 45 malt liquor keeps it from finding mainstream success. But when thought of as an equine-inspired name, the identity is an energetic and brave quality.
Other spin-offs of Colt include Colter, Colton, and Coltrane, but the one-syllable version has a lot more zip.
If you’re looking for a masculine name with a Western flair, Colt may be a rugged-sounding moniker for your little boy. We imagine Colt will have a stable character that will make his parents proud.
9 Poppy (girl name)
Flower names are blooming right now, and Poppy is the pick of the crop. This short and sweet girl’s name comes from the stunning poppy flower, which is usually bright red in color. Poppy in Latin literally means “flower.”
The poppy is a symbol of remembrance for military veterans and soldiers who lost their lives in battle. It is also associated with peacefulness, as we remember in the film “The Wizard of Oz” when Dorothy and her friends become sleepy while running through a poppy field.
This upbeat name is rising in popularity in the U.K. and Australia. Although it hasn’t quite caught on in the U.S., floral names are prominent in Poppy Montgomery’s family. The Australian-American actress has four sisters named Daisy, Lily, Marigold, and Rosie. And Montgomery’s daughter is another flower child named Violet.
With a name like Poppy, your little girl is sure to have a spunky character to match. The name just pops.
8 Rowan (unisex name)
Nature-loving parents will appreciate this name, which is derived from the Rowan tree. Also known as a Mountain Ash, this flowering, red-berried tree is commonly found in the U.K. and Asia.
Rowan in Gaelic means “little redhead.” Like Finn and Kelly, it derives from the Irish surname. The name got an early start in the U.K. when author William Faulkner named his estate Rowan Oak. Rowan Atkinson, the given name of actor and comedian Mr. Bean, popularized it in the 1980s. It reached name-fame in the U.S. after actress and model Brooke Shields chose it for her daughter in 2003.
Rowan is trending for girls while remaining strong with the boys. Other spellings include Rowen, Rohan, and Roan, with the nickname Rowe.
With its distinctive Irish lilt, this name has an earthy, yet regal feel. The crossover appeal is sure to make the list for many expecting parents.
7 Jasmine (girl name)
Vintage names are making a resurgence, and Jasmine is no exception. From the Middle Eastern name Yasmin, it embodies beauty and sweetness. In Persian, the name Yasamin means “gift from God.”
Jasmine is a tropical plant in the olive family that is known for its fragrant blossoms. Scented oils, perfumes, and teas are made from the sweet-smelling petals and dark leaves.
This name enjoyed fame in the early 1990s due to the success of the animated film “Aladdin.” The character of Princess Jasmine gave the name a spirited and strong-willed identity. In recent years, it has declined in popularity, but it remains a lovely name for a girl.
There are several offshoots for Jasmine, including Jazz, Jazzy, Min, and Minnie. Jasmine and all of its variations are as beautiful as the bouquet of the flower.
6 Phoenix (unisex name)
You may be destined to have a leader if you name your son or daughter Phoenix. It is a powerful name that has become trendy in recent years. Ending in the fashionable letter X, Phoenix is a surprising baby name on the rise.
This Greek name means “deep red.” The image of the name evokes a colorful, legendary bird. In ancient mythology, the phoenix was an immortal animal, rising from its own ashes to be reborn in a flame. Besides the bird name, Phoenix is also the capital city of Arizona.
In the U.S., Phoenix is more popular with boys, but steadily climbing with girls. In Australia, though, Phoenix is strictly a boy's name.
Phoenix is a name that no one could forget. With ties to a mythological bird and a place on the map, it’s a unique choice for nature-lovers.
5 Sky (unisex name)
If you are drawn to nature, just look up for further inspiration. Sky is a special, one-syllable name that is not of this earth. In fact, the Old Norse word means “cloud.” Sky is also defined as “scholar” and “bringer of water.”
The name’s roots go back to the Isle of Skye, an island of Scotland known for its mind-blowing scenery. While most people associate the name with the atmosphere above us, there’s also a pop culture connection to the name. Actor Marlon Brando played Sky Masterson in the 1955 film “Guys and Dolls.”
Sky is proof that a powerful name can be simple. It’s inviting, and free from boundaries. With the name Sky, your new addition will feel on top of the world.
4 Atlas (boy name)
A strong boy may be in your future if you choose the name Atlas. This male name conjures a dependable, rock-solid personality.
Atlas is a moniker that exudes greatness. In Greek mythology, Atlas the Titan was known for his strength. After being defeated by Zeus, Atlas was sentenced to carry the weight of the heavens on his shoulders for all eternity. His name was based on three places: the mountain range in northwestern Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, and the lost city of Atlantis.
At first, this name may seem too mature for a baby. The thought that a newborn will metaphorically carry a heavy burden on his shoulders may turn people away, which is why the name is rarely used. But the symbolism has a positive side. It demonstrates a confidence that your baby will have the mental and physical strength to handle any situation that comes his way. The name also has a connotation to the book of maps, and bodybuilder Charles Atlas.
Atlas is interesting, bold, forever strong, and infused with nature. It’s a name with all kinds of meaning and hope. If you’re looking for a rare boy’s name, Atlas may be the one.
3 Willow (girl name)
The name Willow means “slender and graceful.” In Celtic tradition, spiritual leaders considered the willow tree a vessel for water. Trees and plants that were connected to water were known to enhance psychic and intuitive energy. They were revered as symbols of enlightenment.
The willow tree is one of the few trees that is flexible but strong. Its branches can bend without snapping. The tree adjusts to meet challenges. It is resilient and beautiful. It not only survives but flourishes in the most difficult conditions. Symbolically, the willow tree offers a message: continue to grow and reach high, regardless of where you are planted.
This botanical name is popular in Australia, the U.K., and Canada, and continues to climb the charts in the U.S. In terms of popularity, you can’t disregard Hollywood’s impact. It is the name given to the daughters of actor Will Smith, actress Michelle Monaghan, and singer Pink.
The name Willow is ethereal and earthy. It has an exquisite sound that will make a lovely name for any young lady.
2 River (unisex name)
With a poetic name like River, your son or daughter is bound to be the outdoorsy type.
There’s something marvelous about water. A flowing stream has a peaceful quality, and a glistening river is a breathtaking sight. The word river originates from the Latin word riparia which means river bank.
The name River jumped in popularity in the U.S. after the death of actor River Phoenix. It continued to grow after singer Kelly Clarkson chose the name River Rose for her daughter in 2014. Some people debate on whether the name River is more suitable for a boy or a girl. The most notable Rivers have been male, yet more than a third of newborns named River are female.
Other river names include Nile, Mackenzie, and Jordan. Like the waterways, these names just flow. Pardon the puns, but names inspired by water are current, and slowly becoming more mainstream.
1 Rose (girl name)
There is something lovely about the name Rose. Much like its flower sisters Lily and Daisy, Rose is experiencing a comeback on popular name charts.
Rose is one of the most popular floral names. Like the flower, the name Rose reminds us of various emotions. The white rose signifies innocence, yellow represents friendship, pink means elegance, and red is the romantic symbol of love.
The name Rose has a classic vibe to it. Flower names had its heyday in the early to mid-20th century. In the 1990s and 2000s, Rose became more popular as a middle name. But the name still has flower power. It's still a first name staple in popular culture, as in Betty White’s character on TV’s “The Golden Girls,” and Kate Winslet’s character in the film “Titanic.”
Time-honored names like Rose will never sound trendy, and they will never feel outdated. It’s a short and sweet name of nature, steeped in traditional charm. A Rose in the family will be loved for generations to come.