50 Nature-Inspired Baby Names You’ll Love
If you love to feel connected to nature — and want the same for your kids — why not choose a nature-inspired name for your new arrival?
Tree and flower names are obvious choices, but the natural world has so many beautiful names to offer. From the celestial Skye to the seasonal Summer, these nature baby names are perfect for those families who can’t get enough of the Great Outdoors.
Flint is a hard grey rock, which gives this boy’s name a seriously macho vibe. It also has superhero roots — think of the Marvel comic “Captain Flint” and the iconic pirate Flint in Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island.”
While it was a popular choice in the late 1950s, Flint is far less common today.
Autumn is the most popular of the four season names — it’s the only one to break the U.S. Top 100 in recent years.
Jennifer Love Hewitt named her daughter Autumn James, and it also has a royal connection — Autumn Patricia Phillips (nee Kelly) is married to Peter Phillips, who is the son of Princess Anne and the eldest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II.
Meaning “dweller near the woods,” Forrest is a true outdoorsy name. The most famous Forrest is arguably Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks’ character in the 1994 movie of the same name — although the movie itself didn’t do anything to boost its popularity.
However, it re-entered the U.S. Social Security Association's Top 1,000 baby names list in 2013.
The early 1990s sitcom character Blossom Russo of NBC’s “Blossom” (played by Mayim Bialik) might be the strongest “Blossom” association for parents of a certain age, but TV teenagers aside, the name means “to bloom” and certainly evokes images of beautiful gardens.
If you can’t decide between Rose or Lily, you could go for this generic choice for your little flower.
Of Scottish origin, Glen literally means “a deep valley in the Highlands.” In the 1950s and 1960s, lots of parents chose the variant Glenn, probably inspired by actor Glenn Ford.
Ford’s birth name was actually the Welsh Gwyllyn, and if you want more options, there’s Glyn (also Welsh).
A name of English origin meaning “key,” Clover is associated with good luck via the four-leaf clover and Ireland’s shamrock symbol.
It’s also something of a celebrity favorite. Neal McDonough chose it for his daughter, as did Natasha Gregson Wagner. In Wagner’s case, it was a tribute to her mother, Natalie Wood, who starred in the iconic “Inside Daisy Clover.”
The actor we all know as Joaquin Phoenix was born Leaf, which means “heir.” The Scandinavian version is Leif, and for something even more unusual, you could add a couple of letters to make it Leafar.
It’s Rafael spelled backward, and it was created by the artist and musician Leafar Sayer.
Coral might pop up in “jewel” baby name lists, but it also gives nature a nod. A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem, and corals (small, plankton-eating polyps that look a little like anemones) are actually live animals.
There’s no doubt that Coral is a free-spirited choice, and there’s no rule to say it has to be just for girls!
The name North has become a trendy choice, thanks to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, who chose it for their daughter in 2015.
But it actually has a long history as a word name with a directional slant, alongside West, Weston and Easton. In the 1994 film “North,” a young Elijah Wood played the talented title character.
One of the more modern bird names, Dove is a soft, gentle choice with a strong association with peace. It appears in the symbolism of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Paganism, and is also used by many pacifist groups.
As a girl’s name, Dove has a long history — it was used as a first name in the 17th century and enjoyed time in the U.S. Top 1,000 through the 1890s.
If you’re interested in nature names for your new arrival, it makes sense to consider all the trees of the Great Outdoors. There are thousands of species, of course, and some of them are more suitable name choices than others.
Oak, meaning "tree from the genus Quercus,” is a symbol of strength and endurance, and the surnames Oakley and Oakes could be added to the list, too.
The name Evening has a truly modern vibe, but it’s a “day” name that’s been used for centuries, along with Morning and Afternoon. Evening has style and grace, and evokes images of sunset and and twilight.
However, parents who are hoping it will encourage their child to go to bed early might be disappointed.
We all know Orion as a constellation — it’s one of the most recognizable in the world — but you might not realize that it’s named after the legendary Greek mythological hunter, who chased the seven daughters of Atlas and was killed by the goddess Artemis before going to his final resting place in the night sky.
Orion is also the name of a wizard (and Quidditch team captain) in “Harry Potter.”
Fawn is a young deer, and it’s also an enduring girl’s name that feels fresher than Dawn. It managed to stay inside the U.S. Top 1,000 throughout the 1960s and 1970s (just when people who grew up with Disney’s “Bambi” were starting families).
Although it’s less popular today, Fawn is one of those names that will never lose its appeal.
Is there a bird sweeter than the chirpy red-breasted robin? The name Robin isn’t quite as popular for girls as it used to be, but is growing in favor for boys.
The meaning of Robin — “bright fame” — is another reason to love it. Of course, there are plenty of other bird names to choose from, such as Deryn, Lark and Wren.
Another botanical choice, Fern is linked to the children’s classic “Charlotte’s Web,” which was released in 1952.
But this green, shade-loving plant was a popular choice for a girl’s name long before that, ranking at No. 152 in the U.S. Top 1,000 in 1916. Alternative spellings include Ferne and Fearne.
If you want an earthy name for your little chap and are partial to a bit of lumberjack chic, you can’t go wrong with Woody. It manages to be cute for kids (partly thanks to the animated cowboy character in “Toy Story”) and strong for adults (Woody Harrelson).
Other famous Woodys include folk singer Woody Guthrie and film director Woody Allen (who was actually born Allen).
Another generic flower name is Flora, which literally means “flower.” Flora was the Roman goddess of flowers and spring, and this delicate, old-fashioned name is proving popular with today’s parents in some countries, including France and Hungary.
And it’s been a long-time favorite in Scotland, where it was also the name of the young heroine who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie get to France.
If you want to pass your Mother Earth aura to your daughter, the name Gaia should be up for consideration. This name, which is of Greek origins, literally means “earth mother.”
This ecological element is what appealed to actress Emma Thompson, who chose the name for her daughter when she was born in 1999.
Celebrity couple Rachel Bilson and Hayden Christensen named their daughter Briar Rose — a nod to the fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty,” maybe?
The name Briar, which means “thorny patch,” charted in the U.S. for the first time in 2015 for both boys and girls. It’s a natural choice for a more modern alternative to Brian.
The name Laurel relates to the laurel tree and, by association, the laurel wreath, which represented success and peace in Ancient Rome. It also has superhero connections, thanks to Laurel Kent and Laurel Gand (Andromeda) of DC Comics fame.
In the mid-1950s, Laurel reached an all-time high of No. 241 on the U.S. chart.
Bay, which derives from the Latin for “berry,” works for a girl or a boy, and it ticks many boxes. It’s a water name, a one-syllable name and a perfect middle-name choice.
It’s also a nature name in more than one way — the bay laurel tree is known for its bay leaves, which have both medicinal and culinary appeal.
From the English word “hazel,” which refers to the hazelnut tree and traditionally represents protection and authority, the name Hazel got celebrity endorsement in 2004, when Julia Roberts chose it for one of her twins.
Since then, it’s grown steadily in the U.S. chart and ranked at No. 33 in 2019. The variant Hazelle is another option, which should also appeal to fans of “The Hunger Games.”
From the Old English “bric,” which means “small stream,” Brook (or Brooke) has an all-American appeal. This is largely thanks to model and actress Brooke Shields, who was born in 1965.
Brook or even the surname Brooks is a more popular choice nowadays, as in the lead (male) character in director Destin Daniel Cretton’s first feature film, “I Am Not a Hipster.”
A great choice for December babies, Holly is a seasonal nature pick that’s been popular in the U.K. for decades — it ranked No. 61 in 2019. It’s not as popular in the U.S. but managed to edge back inside the top 500 last year.
The most iconic fictional Holly has to be the appealing heroine of Truman Capote’s 1958 novel “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” played by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 movie adaptation.
Sharper and more contemporary than Clayton and Clayborne, Clay is a boy’s name of English origin. Another earthy single-syllable choice, it has plenty of pop culture references, from “American Idol” contestant Clay Aiken to characters in “Sons of Anarchy” and “13 Reasons Why.”
Like most other word names, there’s no reason it couldn’t be used for a baby girl.
The ivy plant got its name from the Old English word “ifig.” In Ancient Greece, people gifted it to newlyweds to symbolize fidelity.
Like Holly, it’s a natural consideration for babies born around Christmas time, and it’s recently been given the celebrity seal of approval by Beyoncé and Jay-Z, who named their first child Blue Ivy.
Another early gender-neutral word name, Dale means “valley.” Short and snappy, it’s simple yet stylish.
The most famous bearers of this name are father and son race drivers Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr., but it has a strong history for girls, as in actress Dale Evans, the third wife of singing cowboy Roy Rogers.
The name Meadow, which brings to mind endless greenery and rolling hills, may seem an unusual choice for tough TV mobster Tony Soprano, but that’s what he named his daughter.
It’s not a hugely popular name in the U.S., but it’s sweet and pretty, and comes with the option of the appealing nickname Doe.
Made popular by David Duchovny’s character Fox Mulder on “X Files,” who was apparently inspired by a childhood friend of the show’s creator Chris Carter, the name Fox is an animal name for the wild at heart.
This creature is known for being smart and creative — both qualities anyone would appreciate in their kid. Fox is also an endearing one-syllable name that could make a good middle name.
If you want a girl’s name inspired by the elements, Misty is one that’s particularly evocative. It also has a strong sporting connection — famous bearers of this name include ballerina Misty Copeland, volleyball player Misty May-Treanor and Olympic swimmer Misty Hyman.
Jazz musician Erroll Garner’s 1954 song, “Misty,” helped popularize the name.
No name represents natural energy like Nova, which is an astronomical term for a star that suddenly becomes brighter, then fades.
It’s derived from the Latin “novus,” meaning “new,” and it definitely has a contemporary feel. For a short and sweet celestial name, it’s a top choice.
Literally meaning “leaf,” the name Petal manages to be traditional yet mysterious. Although it’s never ranked in the U.S. Top 1,000, it’s definitely one of the sweetest botanical names.
Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver named his daughter Petal Blossom Rainbow in 2009.
The winter and summer solstices are big events in the pagan calendar, celebrating the longest and shortest days of the year (Dec. 21 and June 21, respectively). As a girl’s name, it means “when the sun stands still,” and author Lionel Shriver can take credit for elevating it to official name status by using it for a character in her 2013 novel “Big Brother.”
Unlikely to become popular with the masses, this is a name that will ensure your little one stands out.
Equally suitable for both boys and girls, the bird name Sparrow deserves as much attention as the more popular choices Lark and Phoenix. (FYI: The sparrow is a small bird in the finch family.)
Nicole Richie and Joel Madden named their son Sparrow James Midnight Madden in 2009.
The name Summer was a hit in the 1970s, and although not as popular today, it has been featured in pop culture in recent years — most notably Zooey Deschanel’s character in “(500) Days of Summer.”
If the warm, carefree summer months are your favorite time of year, it’s definitely going to float your boat more than Autumn or Winter. Like the other season names, Summer also makes a good middle name.
Meaning “turbulent, stormy,” Tempest is a name that evokes the elements without being as blatant as Storm or Rain. This name comes with big expectations — can you imagine a shy, retiring sort named Tempest? And it undoubtedly also makes a big impact.
There’s also the literary connection — William Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest” is thought to have been written around 1610.
Another earthy choice is Terra, a name with Latin roots that means “earth.” More interesting than Terry or Tara, it’s a unisex option, and the alternative Tierra is perhaps even more quirky.
And for video game fans, the “Final Fantasy VI” character might seal the deal.
Originating from the willow tree, which symbolizes hope and a sense of belonging, the name Willow is another unisex option from nature. The ancient tree is a literary favorite, making an appearance in everything from Shakespeare plays to “Harry Potter.”
Celebrity parents Will Smith and Jada Pickett Smith chose it for their daughter, as did Pink and Michelle Monaghan.
For fans of aquatic names, Lake is a large area of water surrounded by land and is an alternative to Ocean, River or Brook. Although it’s equally suitable for girls and boys, the most famous Lake is actress Lake Bell.
Celebrity parents Giselle Bundchen and Tom Brady chose it as a middle name for their daughter Vivian in 2012.
The lotus flower is one of the most exotic blooms in the world, so it’s no surprise the name Lotus has an equally mysterious mood. It has a particular meaning in both Buddhism (where it represents the purity of the body, speech and mind) and Hinduism (where it signifies spiritual enlightenment, growth, purity and birth).
Plus, of course, it’s a familiar yoga position.
Parents who love the sea might also love the name Ocean for their child — like Forest Whitaker, who has a son named Ocean Alexander. To give this aquatic name a twist, you could make it Oceanus (as in the child who was born during the voyage of the Mayflower).
Neither variation is in the U.S. Top 1,000, but the feminine Oceane is a hugely popular girls’ name in France.
Olive, after the olive tree, may not be a fraction as popular as the always-trendy Olivia, but it’s enjoying something of a revival in the U.S. In fact, it’s one of only four girl names beginning with “O” in the Top 1,000.
Isla Fisher and Sachs Baron Cohen named their daughter Olive in 2007, and Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman did the same in 2012.
A refreshing name choice is Rain, which could also be spelled Raine, Rainn, Reine or Reign. Richard Pryor named his now-adult daughter Rain, and “24” actress Marisol Nichols chose it for her daughter in 2008.
And Rain is one of the nature-named Phoenix siblings, sister of Summer, Joaquin (who was born Leaf) and the late River.
The official meaning of the name Reed is “red-haired,” but it’s also a word name — reed is the generic term for tall, grass-like plants that grow in wet environments. The botanical connection gives this name energy and grace, but it’s versatile enough to appeal to many.
Reed also has musical connotations and has enjoyed time on the big and small screens. “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Party of Five” and “Boogie Nights” have all featured a Reed character.
The name River (literally meaning “stream of water that flows to the sea”) will always be a reminder of the late actor River Phoenix, but there are plenty of other, less tragic associations.
This relaxing name was chosen by Keri Russell for her son, and fellow actor Jason Schwartzman used the plural form for his daughter Marlowe Rivers. While it’s still more popular for boys, it’s surely only a matter of time before parents of girls embrace this alluring name.
As a fragrant herbal name, Sage has huge sensory appeal. Meaning “wise,” it has been used for both daughters and sons but is currently more popular for girls.
Toni Collette named her daughter Sage Florence in 2008, and fans of “Vampire Diaries” will be familiar with the beautiful vampire Sage and her formidable speed.
The name Skye has plenty going for it. Firstly, it’s a charming island off the coast of Scotland. It also appeals to free-spirited baby-namers — what is more incredible than the never-ending, ever-changing sky?
Of course, soap fans may choose the name as a tribute to character Skye Chandler, who has appeared on no less than three soaps: “All My Children,” “One Life to Live” and “General Hospital.”
If you don’t want to name your kid after a particular constellation, you could just go for the generic Star, which can also be spelled Starr. The name also relates to Christmas, making it a potential entry on the baby name shortlist for December births.
Fans of the TV show “Star,” which first aired in 2016, may choose this name for another reason entirely.
Winter has been around as a first name since way back in the 17th century and entered the U.S. Top 1,000 in 1978.
It’s enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years, perhaps helped by the fact that Nicole Richie and Joel Madden chose it for their daughter Harlow’s middle name. Other famous parents who appreciate the qualities of this season name include Sean Parker and Gretchen Mol.
Related: Spring Baby Names for Your Little One