Wren. Rowan. Juniper.
They’re three delightful nature picks I’ve seen in the past few days in various different settings. They’re also three nature names I happen to love, and there’s one other connection they have, which you should pick up pretty quickly.
Let’s start with the name of a famed songbird Wren. You may be surprised to hear that Wren in used in equal volumes for males and females in England&Wales. Well, you wouldn’t be surprised if you caught Zeffy’s post on the name the week before last, or indeed’s Kristen’s list of suggestions for Sydney’s new baby boy. There were 6 males and 9 females born with the name in England&Wales in 2010, which corresponds to a rank of #2941 and #2589, respectively. In a way, this puts it in similar waters as Harper, where more females are given the name, but it ranks lower on the female list than the male equivalent does.
The slightly similar name Ren is hugely popular in Japan as a male name, and the name means lotus over there. The slightly similar Reine is the French word for Queen.
As for Rowan, I love Rowan Atkinson, he makes the name Bob so much more interesting than it really is and he appeared at the Indian GP last weekend, when he delivered the classic moment framed above, to balance out the genders, one of the newest name blogs on the block is Eponymia, which is written by a female Rowan. With the popularity of Mr. Bean and Blackadder, it comes as no surprise that Rowan is more popular for males in England&Wales (#142) than females (#709). It likely comes from Irish origins, and thusly means red, which refers to the colour of it’s berries.
Similar names include Ronan, the first name of a popular contestant from 2011′s Britain’s Got Talent Ronan Parke, who’s just released a new single. There’s also Roman, as in, owner of Chelsea FC Roman Abramovich, and Rory, as in, impressionist Rory Bremner who was recently booted off Strictly Come Dancing. In terms of female names, there’s Rowena which J.K. Rowling made mainstream when she used it for one of the founders of mythical Hogwarts – Rowena Ravenclaw.
Juniper is nowadays considered much more of a female name than ever before, but historically the gender line has always been more blurred as Elea mentioned the other day. Elea also mentioned in the comments that the name Juniper is gaining a female following likely as a ‘follow on’ from already established names such as June – I also think Juniper isn’t that far-removed from the once popular name Jennifer. 6 female Junipers were born in England&Wales in 2010, but there were also 389 lads born to the name Jasper, which isn’t so far removed from Juniper if one thinks about it. Another similar name is Jupiter, the name of one of the planets, named after the Roman God of the same name – god of sky and thunder.
Personally, the notion of using Juniper as a male name came from a Jacqueline Wilson book, Little Darlings, which featured a Mr. Juniper.
So, all three have historical uses, and in some cases more modern uses as gender-neutral names. Rowan is the only one still thriving, whilst both Wren and Juniper are names I’m hearing more and more often considered by parents. It’s likely that since I’m only really seeing the latter two suggested as female names, with the odd exception noted above. Either way, they’re three fantastic nature names, which will likely to thrive in the future.