Guest Author - Nancy Man
Tree-inspired baby names are popping up more and more often on birth certificates nationwide.
Why? I think people are attracted to tree-names because they're nature-names that aren't too flowery (Lily, Violet), aren't too flower-child (Sunshine, Blueberry), and aren't too grandiose (Sky, Ocean). Tree names tend to connote strength and longevity, and many are gender-neutral (which many modern parents see as a plus).
So, what tree-inspired baby names are out there?
The most traditional options are Holly and Laurel. Holly tends to be used exclusively for females (a male version is Hollis), while Laurel -- though often a female name -- has been used for both genders.
Willow, Aspen and Rowan have become trendy in the last few years. In fact, Rowan is currently one of the top 500 names in the U.S. for baby boys, and Willow and Aspen aren't too far behind for baby girls. (To be fair, though, I think most people have the traditional Irish name and not the tree in mind when they choose the name Rowan.)
Myrtle may sound dated nowadays, but it was quite popular for baby girls during the first quarter of the 20th century. Linden is another old-fashioned-sounding option that many associate with Lyndon B. Johnson (1908�1973).
Cedar hasn't cracked the top 1,000 yet, but I've seen and heard enough evidence of its use that I wouldn't be surprised if it did one day. Same goes for Birch.
I've also seen occasional usage of Acacia, Cassia, Sequoia, Juniper, Pine, and Mahogany -- mostly as female names.
Ash and Oak might not be too appealing as they are, but they're the basis of names like Ashley, Ashton, Oakley and Ogden.
Finally, don't forget Forrest/Forest, Sylvia and Sylvester (the latter two of which are based on the Latin word for forest). These would work well if you can't manage to pick a favorite tree and you'd rather lump them all together. :)