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Celandine

celandinepi
www.plantillustrations.org 

The baby name Celandine may sound a bit like celery, but it is a perennial wildflower herb known as Chelidonium. In that category are greater celandine, belonging to the poppy family, and lesser celandine, belonging to the buttercup family. The name celandine derives from Latin word celidonia, therefore Celandine and Chelidonium have cognate etymologies, both ultimately coming from Greek chelidon, meaning "swallow." This plant is native to Northern Africa, Western Asia, and Europe. In North America it is considered invasive. It is pronounced sel-an-DEEN.

This plant has uses in herbalism, known as far back as Pliny the Elder's time, when it was considered detoxifying, used to relieve toothaches, and clear the eyes. Pliny connected the herb to the swallow bird using it for eye film, and that may be where the name came from, but it was also widely believed that the herb flowered at the same time the swallows came out in spring. Today we still use it to purge toxins. Lesser celandine is not native to North America either, but it banned and considered toxic. In plant symbolism, celandine represents joys to come.

As far as literary works go, Celandine is a novel by Steve Augarde, and Celandine Brandybuck was a character mentioned in J. R. R. Tolkien's work.

Celandine is not used as a baby name in the U.S. However, Celedonia saw a few hits in SSA records, with 5 births in 1926 and 5 in 1927. They may have been babies born on the S. S. Celedonia, which was built in 1925.

** There is a fairytale/medieval chivalric romance titled Perceforest, in which there is a character named Zellandine. It is unclear if her name is a medieval variant somehow related. Regardless, it is not a pretty story.

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Here's one of my personal favorites, although I'm surprised I still like it after seeing Forrest Gump so often (thanks, Dad). In fact, the name peaked in popularity for the second time the year the movie was released, jumping to number #217 in 1994. Now he's on the move yet again, rising to 132 boys given the name in 2015 from a low dip to 47 in 2006. To be clear, Forest is the word spelling and Forrest the name spelling, and Forrest remains a much more popular choice with 387 boys given the name in 2015, ranking at #659. Forrest also had a dip in 2006 with only 147 births, disappearing from the charts between 2003 and 2013, and it also peaked in 1994 with 1,343 boys born, rising to #217. Historically both spelling options have been very popular.

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