English: acacia dealbata Français : acacia dea...
English: acacia dealbata Français : acacia dealbata (mimosa) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She’s a pretty plant name – and an alcoholic brunch staple.

Thanks to Rachel for suggesting Mimosa as our Baby Name of the Day.

Before there was Sunday brunch, the mimosa was a lovely yellow bloom.  The name comes from the Latin mimus – mime.  It’s also called the sensitive plant, because the leaves fold in when touched.  It’s not subtle – the change is dramatic, mimicking movement.

The plants have claimed the name since at least the eighteenth century.  There’s a family of 400 flowering plants and shrubs called Mimosoideae.

They’re not all the color of yellow sunshine, but many are.  The alcoholic beverage – champagne plus orange juice – borrowed its name from the plant’s hue in the 1970s, and it stuck.

Between the 1700s and the 1970s, Mimosa was also the name of:

  • A clipper ship that brought Welsh immigrants to Patagonia in 1865.
  • A British record label known for producing records for children in the 1920s.
  • The nineteenth brightest star in the night sky, part of the Southern Cross, and also known as Beta Crucis.
  • A national park in Australia is called Mimosa Rocks.  It’s a notable refuge for a particular parrot.

But have any women answered to the name?

Prior to the 1970s, Mimosa was rare but not unknown.  A few dozen women appear in the Census records.  In recent years, she’s at least as rare – possibly more.  Fewer than five girls were called Mimosa in 2011.

Little wonder.  Most Americans are more likely to be familiar with the drink than the plant.  We’re not used to seeing mimosas in gardens or in bridal bouquets.  That’s not a requirement for a successful botanical borrowing, but it helps names like Lily, Rose, and Violet.

In her favor:

  • She’s valid botanical choice.
  • Mimosa makes for a crazy gorgeous name – combining the best parts of the serious Miriam and the flirty Lola.
  • Like many names borrowed from the natural world, she’s familiar, easy to say and spell.  But your daughter would likely never share her name.

It’s a nickname-rich choice, too.  Mia, Mimi, Mo, Mosie,  and Mim all work.

So is the link with the drink so strong that Mimosa is unwearable?  It is the only strike against her, and alcoholic associations don’t always destroy appellations.   Margarita is a legitimate form of Margaret with a long history of use.  Brandy came straight out of the liquor cabinet, and she was a Top 100 hit in the 1970s and 80s.  Midori is a Japanese girls’ name, also the word for the color green – which is why the bright green liqueur chose the name.  And boys answer to beer names like Miller and Killian.

Outside of the US, where the cocktail is less well-known, Mimosa is probably fair game.

In the US, you’d need to weigh this pretty carefully.  If you already have daughters named Azalea and Zinnia, it might be easier.  Will it bother you if you have to insist that you named your daughter after the plant, not the drink?  If so, there are other lovely names to consider.

Still, it is too bad that Mimosa isn’t more wearable in the US, as there’s much to recommend her.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. I didn’t know this was the name of a plant, but I think that even if I *did* know, all I’d think of is the alcoholic drink. I just mentioned it to my mother and she said, “Why not Budweiser?”

  2. My given name is Mimi but my daddy used to call me “Mimosa” everytime he’d summon for a something serious as a child…like if he meant business or if I was in trouble for something. I grew up with a negative association of Mimosa and I even struggled with Mimi. Mind you, this was on the island of Guam. I never met another Mimi in all my years of growing up and was often teased that it rhymed with “peepee”. Although not completely convinced, my mom says she chose it because I was born in May. Her childhood best friend was named Mae – so she obliged to name me Mimi. As an adult, I absolutely love that my dad had a term of “endearment” for each of his three girls. My older sister, Jo-Ann (born in June), he would call Juana and my younger sister, Hazel (born in July or Hulio in Tagalog) he called Cheche. My older sister and I were jealous of her “cuter” nickname. We did grow up questioning our parents name choices and the doubts simmered as we blossomed into the personalities we are today. I wouldn’t trade Mimi for anything. Now having a baby girl for the first time and having a deep appreciation for my given name, I am ever more cautious of the name I eventually end up choosing.

  3. There are a lot of mimosa trees where I live, and they have been a favorite tree of mine since childhood. The blossoms are beautiful! Like Rachel Emma, I didn’t know it was an alcoholic drink until I found it in a name book. I would consider using it, but probably as a middle spot just to be safe.

  4. Thanks Abby.
    Mimosa has definitely grown on me over the past 2 years. I never knew it was a drink until I looked it up. Bugger! But it is my husbands FAVOURITE NAME EVER, and I think that’s so sweet. He met a girl with that name at a music festival a few years ago. To him it’s a gypsy name 🙂
    I love the nicknames Minnie & Mosie best. So adorable. I could live with them. A safe middle name could be an option in case a future darling daughter couldn’t stand the name 🙂

  5. I Love Mimosa! So sweet and pretty. Mim definitely doesn’t hurt, either. Gotta love the options! 😀

    I grew up in an area with quite a few mimosa trees and definitely think of those before flower or drink (but those 2 are not far behind). I’ve been out of the area for 12 years now and I can still smell the mimosa tree in the front yard if I just concentrate. 🙂
    Yep, Mimosa’s one I’d use, happily.

  6. I love nature and flower names, but I just can’t do this one. All I can think of is the drink. Just not wearable – at least in the US.

  7. There are a lot of Mimosa trees near my home, and they are beautiful. The soft pink blooms exude sweetness. Plus, I love nicknames like Mitzi and Bitzy, so Mimzy totally rocks as a nickname to me, though Mosie is adorable as well. The beverage link doesn’t bother me in the least.

  8. I have met girls named Acacia before. Either it’s more wearable or I’m just more used to it? But being a bit more botanical and a bit less cocktail probably doesn’t hurt.

  9. When my daughter started preschool, 3 years ago, we got an early class list and there was a Mimosa on there. I must have looked the name up online, because I remember being shocked that the girl was ‘named after an alcoholic drink’ – especially as this was a private Christian preschool. When school started, Mimosa wasn’t there – I guess they picked another school or just didn’t do preschool. So I never did get to meet Mimosa, who would be 7 or 8 now.

    I do like the nickname options of the name.