BOTAN­I­CAL MONIKERS

OUR GAR­DENS HAVE LONG BEEN A SOURCE OF IN­SPI­RA­TION WHEN IT COMES TO NAM­ING CHIL­DREN, WITH SOME PRICKLY, HAIRY AND SUR­PRIS­ING VER­SIONS THROWN IN THE MIX

The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

If you ever fol­lowed the at­tempts of Mrs Bucket (pro­nounced bou­quet if you please, as she in­sisted) on her quest to so­cial su­pe­ri­or­ity you would have no­ticed that she and her two sis­ters – the tarty rose and the daggy and class­less Daisy – all shared a flower’s name.

The idea of giv­ing girls flower names is not un­usual. It is, how­ever, un­usual to give a boy a flower name, when you con­sider that if plants were to have gen­der ac­cord­ing to their traits and char­ac­ter­is­tics, you would find the oc­ca­sional ‘Spike’ and ‘Spud’ for sure.

Al­though, there are far more boy names in­spired by flow­ers than you would think. Jarred, as an ex­am­ple, is He­brew for rose and the indigo plant that cre­ates pur­ple blue dye is of­ten at­tached to a boy baby. In spite of Mrs Bucket’s re­defin­ing of so­cial mores, her name Hy­acinth was mostly a man’s name mean­ing bul­bous!

Other botan­i­cal deriva­tions of male names come from trees like Ash (pre­sum­ably ex­tended to Ash­ley as a girl’s name and then used for both).

Olive has taken a dual role in lend­ing some or all its parts as a gen­der­less name that can be ap­plied as Oliver or sim­ply Olive for a girl. A bit the same with Lau­rence from Laurel trees. Basil and Bud are ob­vi­ous plant names for a boy.

Flo­rian, while it sounds slight, de­light­ful and fem­i­nine, is mostly a boy’s name.

Sha­tre­var, the Per­sian word for flower is the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind Trevor.

Wat­son as a given name has a strength and sol­i­dar­ity to it. Maybe you know one and can see if this as­sess­ment if cor­rect. It comes from the plant Wat­so­nia which means ‘pow­er­ful war­rior’.

As a mat­ter of in­ter­est and that of gen­der eq­uity, one of the sites linked to Wikipedia il­lus­trates 33 girl’s names in­spired by flow­ers – Lily, Rose, Iris, Posy etc – while in the boy’s col­umn there are three lonely names.

Get­ting to­wards the end of the al­pha­bet, Valery is prob­a­bly more com­mon as a fe­male name, but also as a male moniker after the herb Va­le­rian. Now for a name as­so­ci­a­tion guess that Palmer as a boy’s name may have some con­nec­tion to a palm? Pos­si­bly not, as Coco as in Chanel was prob­a­bly not in­tended to be re­lated to a co­conut. If you like the idea of an ad­ven­tur­ous name, maybe Huck­le­berry. We don’t know what a huckle is or for that mat­ter the berry it refers to, but it sure sounds in­ter­est­ing and Mis­sis­sip­pian.

‘Mango’ is listed un­der some sites as a boy’s name, but I have yet to hear of some­one called after this sump­tu­ous, juicy trop­i­cal fruit. Per­haps this is fit­ting after all. In fact, in toilog­ra­phy sites the men’s room is re­ferred to as ‘man­goes’, and ‘no-man­goes’ for the ladies. Not re­ally a good botan­i­cal ex­am­ple but good for a laugh.

Per­haps it’s a good idea to think of what a baby might look like as an adult be­fore vis­it­ing the reg­istry of­fice, so they don’t have to con­stantly pass the novel name test. I still like Hy­acinth Bucket’s take on it all.

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