Nature names for girls feel like one of the hottest categories of names.
But it’s not really one category, is it? From vintage gems like Violet to classics like Rose, modern discoveries like Autumn to bold, unisex picks like Briar, it’s possible to love nature names no matter what your style.
The US Top 1000 – and even the Top 100! – is packed with nature names for girls. New ones are constantly catching parents’ attention, too.
In April 2015, these were the Ten Most Popular Names Names for girls:
All of them are still in use today, and many of them are more popular now than they were then.
But what makes a nature name?
This is a tough question! Stella and Daphne have meanings that connect them to the natural world. Others, like Vanessa, are easy to connect to a similar meaning. (It’s the name of a type of butterfly.)
For this list, they’re not considered nature names for girls. To make this list, a name has to be an actual noun that could be heard in everyday speech as an object in the natural world. So yes to Brooke – even though the body of water is a brook – but no to Isla. Does it mean island? Yes. But it’s not the first thing that comes to mind when the name is heard.
These are the 25 most popular nature names for girls using those criteria. But know that there are many ways to draw inspiration from the world around us when naming a daughter.
Current US popularity rank: #28
2016 US popularity rank: #52
Gentle, vintage, and frills-free, a number of celebrity parents have embraced Hazel, from Julia Roberts to Emily Blunt. Factor in John Green’s appealing Hazel Grace from A Fault in Our Stars and no surprise this name is catching on. Another bonus for Hazel? Like many popular choices, it’s a color name, too.
Current US popularity rank: #31
2016 US popularity rank: #24
This flower power name remains a favorite. Many more girls answer to longer Lily names, too – in fact, Lillian ranks even higher than just Lily! Lillie once reigned as the most popular spelling, but today the flower and the girl nearly always share the same spelling. Here’s a fun Lily fact: it’s possible this name evolved as a nickname for Elizabeth, and Lillian and company came later.
Current US popularity rank: #35
2016 US popularity rank: #47
Elegant and vintage, Violet is back in a big way today. Once considered shrinking and shy, this name now feels vibrant and bold. Some credit goes to Downton Abbey’s inimitable Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by Dame Maggie Smith. There’s also Violet of The Incredibles – the teenage sister who can turn invisible … and help save the world.
Current US popularity rank: #36
2016 US popularity rank: #66
Stella and Luna don’t quite qualify as nature names by the strictest definition. (Even though they basically are!) But Aurora? The name has roots in ancient myth as the goddess of the dawn. Today it refers specifically to the streaks of light that appear in the sky near both of the poles. The aurora borealis – the northern lights – are better known in the US, but there’s a similar electric phenomenon creating a display near the southern pole, too.
Current US popularity rank: #39
2016 US popularity rank: #96
Willow has climbed on the US charts as well as the nature names for girls rankings. Not so long ago, Willow was a bold celebrity baby name, courtesy of power couple Will and Jada Smith. (She’s named for dad; son Jaden was named for mom.) A bewitching Buffy the Vampire Slayer character boosted the name, too, and don’t forget our affection for o-ending names for girls. The willow tree is rich with symbolism, too . No surprise this gentle, but modern sounding, choice continues to climb.
Current US popularity rank: #49
2016 US popularity rank: #112
Take Ava, mix in a healthy dose of nature names for girls, and you’ll arrive at Ivy. It sounds slightly edgy, thanks to comic book villain Poison Ivy and a 1992 Drew Barrymore movie. But it also feels privileged and accomplished – think of the Ivy League. Word is that Beyonce and Jay-Z used it as Blue’s middle name to refer to their lucky number, four – IV. A long history of use puts this name in the ecovintage camp, and yet Ivy currently ranks at its popular – ever.
Current US popularity rank: #62
2016 US popularity rank: #71
Count Ruby among the most colorful of names, a sister to Scarlett and Navy. But this gemstone name also brings to mind the natural world. Rubies can come in shades as light as pink, but we tend to think of the more vivid, richer reds. It’s also a favorite girl’s name used in song lyrics, from Dion to Kenny Rogers to Rancid to the Kaiser Chefs. Choose your lullaby!
Current US popularity rank: #66
2016 US popularity rank: #65
Autumn first attracted attention at the end of the 1960s. It’s now the most popular of the season names for girls. Tailored and modern, it rose as names like Allison and Erin fell. With Latin roots, this season name has slowly become a mainstream favorite.
Current US popularity rank: #91
2016 US popularity rank: #117
Rock and roll royal Mick Jagger and his model wife Bianca gave this gemstone name to their daughter way back in 1971. While it wasn’t completely unknown in the US – and has enjoyed use for boys and girls alike over the years – the celebrity birth announcement sent Jade into the US Top 1000. Since then, it’s helped spark the rise of spin-off names like Jada and Jayden, but it’s also found a place as a modern, but not invented, gemstone name for a daughter.
Current US popularity rank: #107
2016 US popularity rank: #186
Iris counts as a goddess name, a flower name, a color name, and a name borrowed from the sky. How can so much meaning attach to just four letters? A favorite 90s rock ballad uses the name, and even though it’s never left the US Top 1000, it’s more popular than ever today. Credit clearly goes to The Goo Goo Dolls’ 1998 smash hit, but also to the name’s many qualities. In Greek myth, Iris served as goddess of the rainbow, delivering messages for Hera and the other gods by traveling to Earth over the colorful arcs.
Current US popularity rank: #116
2016 US popularity rank: #154
Vintage and lovely, Rose once had little to do with the flower. Instead, the Normans brought it to England, borrowing from Germanic name elements like hros – horse – and hrod – fame. But it quickly became tied to the flower, and now it’s impossible to see Rose as anything but a botanical. Graceful and elegant, spare Rose is cousin to dozens of more elaborate Rose names, from Rosalie to Primrose.
Current US popularity rank: #134
2016 US popularity rank: #190
Daisy feels light and fresh, a name for a summer day. Bicycle Built for Two serves as a built-in lullaby. Henry James’ Daisy Miller makes it literary – and tragic. Downton Abbey’s hard-working character by the name lends it some backbone. Sometimes associated with Margaret, Daisy most often stands on its own. It’s a bright botanical, a nature name more casual than Rose, but with nearly as much history.
Current US popularity rank: #138
2016 US popularity rank: #348
With a bright and energetic sound, Juniper has quietly moved up the list of popular nature baby names during the twenty-first century. Again, the tree name has Latin roots. Perhaps the spark for considering Juniper for our baby girls is traced to Donovan’s 1968 single “Jennifer Juniper.”
Current US popularity rank: #140
2016 US popularity rank: #507
Long and lovely Magnolia entered the Top 1000 in 2013. It’s slightly Southern, thanks to the flowers. A long list of potential nicknames, from Maggie to Nola to Lola, make it very wearable.
Current US popularity rank: #141
2016 US popularity rank: #201
Call Summer one of the first hippie nature names to break into the mainstream. It debuted in the US Top 1000 in 1971; though it was bestowed in small numbers throughout the twentieth centuries. Rachel Bilson and Zooey Deschanel have worn the name, and Christina Aguilera gave it to her daughter. While Summer lags Autumn on the charts these days, once it was the opposite. Credit for Summer’s 1970s surge likely goes to Miss USA 1975, Summer Bartholomew – born Robin Summer Bartholomew – in November 1951.
Current US popularity rank: #151
2016 US popularity rank: #286
Appearing on both the girls’ and the boys’ nature names lists, River feels like a true gender-neutral name. Inspired by the tragic death of actor River Phoenix, this quiet nature name has been in the boys’ Top 1000 since 1994. It only appeared on the girls’ list starting in 2009. With so many kids answering to Carter and Hunter – as well as Harper and Piper – the R ending helps make this word sound more name-like, too.
Current US popularity rank: #163
2016 US popularity rank: #320
Another R ending name for a daughter, fiery Ember is climbing steadily in use. It’s a twenty-first century update to former favorite Amber.
Current US popularity rank: #170
2016 US popularity rank: #122
Jasmine stands among the most successful Disney princess-inspired baby names of all time. But this name boasts history galore. Older forms Jessamy and Jessamine saw some use in England well before the twentieth century. Seals and Croft’s 1972 hit “Summer Breeze” might have boosted the flower name in the US – the lyrics repeat “blowing through the jasmine in my mind.” Then came actress Jasmine Guy, and finally, the princess of Aladdin fame. It’s remained in heavy use since the 1980s, a modern staple.
Current US popularity rank: #175
2016 US popularity rank: #268
Is June a nature name? Vintage and gentle, it’s more traditional than summer. But June still brings to mind every bit of seaside and sunshine, picnics and green grass. It’s an easy name to love, and one that fits with other baby girl names inspired by the natural world.
Current US popularity rank: #179
2016 US popularity rank: #353
Paige is a former favorite. So why not Sage? It brings to mind wisdom, spices, and the color green. Combined, it’s a powerful set of associations. Like several names on this list, it’s also used for baby boys. Saige, on the other hand, tends to be far more common for girls.
Current US popularity rank: #182
2016 US popularity rank: #272
Olive is straight-up edible, while still feeling perfectly traditional. From Popeye’s girlfriend to Olive the Other Reindeer, the name is familiar to children. But until recently you wouldn’t meet a baby Olive. The name inspired by the olive tree departed the US Top 1000 in the 1950s, not returning until 2007. A bonus? The olive branch is a symbol of peace, lending this tailored name a rich meaning.
Current US popularity rank: #201
2016 US popularity rank: #361
It brings to mind the Colorado ski town, but Aspen is named for its trees. That makes this a place name, as well as one borrowed from the forest.
Current US popularity rank: #241
2016 US popularity rank: #239
Rowan makes the boys’ list, too. In general, tree names tend to trend masculine. But Rowan has gained steadily for boys and girls alike since the 1990s. Some credit goes to Anne Rice’s Rowan Mayfair, the witch at the center of a popular paranormal series, The Witching Hour. Brooke Shields gave the name to her firstborn daughter in 2003.
Current US popularity rank: #251
2016 US popularity rank: #524
A small songbird, Wren is a name as brief and minimalist as the bird that inspires it. Wren might open the door for more avian-inspired choices, like Sparrow and Lark.
Current US popularity rank: #259
2016 US popularity rank: #172
Socialite and philanthropist Brooke Astor put this name on the map when she married into the wealthy Astor family in 1953. Actress Brooke Hayward boosted it in the 1960s, but it took model-actress Brooke Shields to make it a sensation. Originally a surname for someone who lived near a brook, the extra ‘e’ has stuck. It spent nearly three decades in the US Top 100. It opened the door for so many names on this list.
Current US popularity rank: #309
2016 US popularity rank: #389
There’s something dramatic and showy about this vintage nature name. The name’s meaning is doubly borrowed from the natural world. Named for Swedish botanist Anders Dahl, the surname Dahl means valley.
Current US popularity rank: #324
2016 US popularity rank: #504
Winter continues to climb, with spelling Wynter not too far behind. That makes it the third season name in terms of popularity, behind both Autumn and Summer. It’s easy to imagine this as a baby boy name, too, though it remains far more common for our daughters.
Current US popularity rank: #368
2016 US popularity rank: #436
Rosemary feels decidedly vintage, a little heavier than just Rose. While it combines two classic favorites for girls, Rosemary is also an herb.
Current US popularity rank: #401
2016 US popularity rank: #747
Another newcomer to the US Top 1000, bright and vibrant Poppy could follow red-inspired favorites like Scarlett and Ruby straight up the popularity charts.
Current US popularity rank: #409
2016 US popularity rank: #489
Raven has been around since the 1970s – long before Wren. The revival of That’s So Raven as Raven’s Home on Disney Channel may have helped remind parents of the name. The middle V sound helps, too.
BEYOND THE TOP 30 NATURE NAMES FOR GIRLS
The name Sky ranks in the US Top 1000, but Skye-with-an-e is more popular.
A former favorite, especially associated with winter holidays.
Long after The Sopranos ended its run, gentle nature name Meadow still brings to mind the hit HBO series.
A thorny plant, Briar sounds like Bryce and Bryer and Brianna, but it also brings to mind Briar Rose of fairytale fame. That makes it just right for either gender.
Fossilized tree resin doesn’t sound fancy, but Amber is a favorite for jewelry makers.
A shiny gemstone less obvious than Ruby.
Like Olive, it’s an edible name. Also like Olive, we’re equally used to hearing it as a given name, as well as produce.
The tragedy: ivory comes from elephant tusks. But the word has long since developed layers of meaning beyond the original substance. It can refer to something durable, bright, and innocent.
We love our Laura names, and Laurel is the most clearly linked to the laurel leaf wreath, long associated with triumph.
Quiet and conservative, Pearl is the kind of straightforward name that is nicely familiar, but not too common.
Really, it should be Rain on this list. But the spelling Rayne remains far popular, which may or may not have much to do with precipitation.
An auspicious meaning, combining with a vibrant sound.
Bodies of water make great names: River and Brooke, Bay and Sea and, yes, Ocean.
Most often a nickname name, Birdie can stand on its own, too – especially in our age of Sadie and Millie.
Another gemstone name, this time a glittering green choice.
A favorite from the 1980s, Crystal remains a favorite.
Names like Stella, Luna, and Soleil so clearly refer to the stars, moon, and sun that it feels almost unfair to exclude them. Both Stella and Luna would be near the top of this list.
Likewise, all of the Oak names – Oakley and Oaklynn and so on – owe quite a bit to the oak tree, but sound slightly more name-like (and often feminine) because of the added syllables.
And beyond the current US Top 1000? Even more possibilities can be found.
What are your favorite nature names for girls?
Originally published on October 6, 2017, this post was revised substantially and re-posted on April 22, 2019 and again on July 21, 2022.
Ember’s rapid rise in usage might be due to the popularity of The Green Ember book series by S.D. Smith. 10 Books so far, the first one published in 2014. My kids and pretty much all of there friends are in love with them. It kind of moves Ember out of the rhelm of dark and haunting into bold and heroic.
Thanks for the tip, Tiana – how cool!
Laura Powell says
Ember is quite mysterious could work for boys or girls I also like amarantha such a poetic name and Gardenia…
My favourite nature name is Amaryllis but I have a soft spot for Juniper because it was our first Appellation Mountain Name of the Day, wasn’t it? I always liked Juniper anyway.