Friday, October 26, 2012
I was a little hesitant to use Tarragon (TARE-ah-gon) for my baby name of the day, as some may find it to be too word-name, too unusual, but I would definitely suggest it for those wanting to continue a spice/herb/flower/nature name theme, as it's difficult to find boy names in those categories. Also, this blog celebrates rare names of all kinds, and why should Tarragon be any different than Juniper or Forest? This spice name has potential as a baby name thanks to its familiar feel, being similar to Aragon and some T names for boys like Terrance, and also being in the same category as spice and herb names gaining in popularity, like Sage, Bay, Cassia and Saffron, and those that have been popular before, such as Basil, Ginger and Rosemary.
As a plant, tarragon looks a little bit like rosemary, but more leafy, like blades of wild grass. It has been used for culinary purposes for quite a long time, and tastes like aniseed. As a name, it sits alongside other undiscovered herb name possibilities, such as Chervil, Marjoram, Chamomile, Lovage, Oregano, Sorrel and Coriander. White Pages affirms that there are 3 living people with Tarragon as a first name, and 5 with it as a surname. Looking it up in the Social Security Administration's extended list, it seems there were no kids (or less than 5) born with this name in the past few years, although some boys were given names that sound similar, like Tarrion, Talon and Tyrion (and if Talon and some made up T names can be used on real babies, why not Tarragon?). I also find it fascinating that the botanical name for tarragon is Artemisia dracunculus, and Artemisia is another rare name, a variant of Artemis that was used on only 5 girls in 2011, while there were 39 girls named Artemis. Tarragon, also known as the "dragon herb" and one of the "four fine herbs" of French cooking, is used to prevent cardiovascular disease and help with diabetes. It was named tarragon and Artemisia dracunculus due to the old belief in the Doctrine of Signatures, meaning a plant's appearance dictated what it would be named and used for. Since tarragon's root look serpentine, botanists believed it could be used for snake bites. Draco and drakon, as you may know, mean "dragon," therefore dracunculus means "little dragon." Tarragon comes from drakontion, meaning "dragonwort."