Now, we will move on to my son’s name: Pyrus. At first glance, this may not appear to be a nature name at all, but don’t be fooled. Pyrus is the genus name of all pear trees and shrubs in the family Rosaceae. It is also the scientific name of the fruit itself. Pyrus is the Greek form of the Latin word pirus which simply means “pear tree”. The word pear originated from the west Germanic pera meaning “fruit”. The name is properly pronounced PYE-rus.
Pear trees are native to the temperate climates of Europe, Africa, and Asia and vary in size (some species are considered shrubs). It is thought that the genus originated in western China. Most are deciduous – meaning they lose their leaves during the colder months – but a couple of species in Southeast Asia are evergreen. Pear trees are particularly hardy plants and can withstand extreme temperatures. There is strong evidence that pears were a food source for people in early history, though not all plants in the genus produce edible fruit as some are grown as ornamental trees. In ancient Greece, the fruit was used to treat nausea. Pear tree wood is popularly used to make woodwind instruments and it doesn’t warp. The leaves were smoked in Europe before widespread cultivation of tobacco.
Symbolically, the pear tree is revered for its strength and fortitude and has appeared as an important symbol dating back to ancient mythology. In ancient Germanic regions, the tree symbolized the birth of a female baby and the family of every female child would plant one for each girl born as they believed the fruitfulness and the longevity the tree is known for would provide their daughters with strength and a long, happy marriage. In China, the pear tree and its fruit have been commonly depicted in artworks because they symbolize longevity. Marco Polo noted after his visit to China that the people planted so many of these trees because they believed the planter of the tree would achieve a long life.
I chose to profile this name now because of the upcoming Christmas season. My son was born very close to Christmas and we partially chose his name because of its connection with the popular Christmas carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. Despite its seemingly nonsensical lyrics, the carol is actually deeply Christian (I wasn’t aware of this until I started researching to write this entry). From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were forbidden to openly practice their faith as the church of state was Anglican. The song was written sometime within that time period as a way to teach children to remember what to be thankful for and each gift represents the many gifts from god (god being the true love in the song). Here are the gifts:
v The Partridge in a Pear Tree was Jesus Christ (the partridge represents Christ himself whereas the tree is mankind’s salvation)
v The Two Turtle Doves represent the two testaments of the Bible
v The Three French Hens stood for faith, hope, and love
v The Four Calling Birds were the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)
v The Five Golden Rings stood for the Torah which is the first five books in the Old Testament
v The Six Geese A-Laying represent the six days of creation
v The Seven Swans A-Swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit (Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy)
v Eight Maids A-Milking are the eight beatitudes given by Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount (located in the Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-10 if you are interested)
v Nine Ladies Dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control)
v The Ten Lords A-Leaping are the ten commandments
v The Eleven Pipers Piping stand for the eleven faithful disciples of Christ.
v The Twelve Drummers Drumming symbolize the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed
The only pop culture usages of the actual name Pyrus I have found have been in video games and the name of a character in one episode of Stargate: SG-1. Two of the video games are ShadowCores and Bakugan. In ShadowCores, Pyrus is a master sorcerer and in Bakugan it is the name of a region (it is called Nova in the Japanese version). The last one is an old (old being like 1993) PC game called Blake Stone where the villain is named Dr. Pyrus Goldfire who plans to conquer the Earth and enslave humanity. That’s about the extent of my knowledge on these games as I have never played them.
Pyrus is not a popular name. In fact, most people have never heard of it. The only baby name site that I have found any reference to it is British Baby Names. Because it is not a widely used name, it isn’t really gender specific, but it definitely feels masculine to me. The “s” ending is definitely on trend with baby boy names and the name actually feels very vibrant and fiery. I would definitely be delighted to see a few other Pyrus’s in the world (or even if it could get at least 5 uses in one year to make the U.S. SSA long list would be nice, so people would stop thinking I made it up).