Money Plant

In many parts of the world, Honesty (Lunaria annua), is known as the ‘money plant’, and other similar names. This is due to the plant having translucent, papery ‘coins’ that hang onto the skeleton of the plant during winter.

Other names: Annual honesty, Moonwort, Moneywort, Silver dollar, Penny flower

The honesty plant originates from south-east Europe, including the Balkans, and parts of western Asia. It is common in England, but scarcer in other parts of the UK. Honesty is also a garden escapee, which can be found wildly on waste grounds, railway cuttings, and roadside verges. This plant is not fussy about climate, soil types, or pH levels, but does prefer partial to full sun locations.

L. annua has large, heart-shaped, green leaves, with toothed edges, and the plant can grow up to height of between 60-90 cm, and a narrow width of about 30 cm.

Honesty plants produce pink, purple or white cruciform (cross-shaped) flowers with four petals, which grow all over the tall stems. These flowers appear in May and June.

The most recognisable part of the plant, however, are the oval, papery seed pods they produce during the winter. This feature alone has led to the plant gaining many money/coin related alternate names, for example, in the Netherlands it is known as the ‘Coins of Judas’. When left on their own, L. annua will continue to self seed for many years.

These seed pods are also commonly used in flower arrangements, and were also once used by Victorians to paint intricate scenes on

Many parts of the honesty plant are edible, including the leaves, flowers, seeds, and even the roots (but please check before consuming). The leaves and flowers can be used in salads, whilst the seeds could be used to make a mustard substitute. It is said that the leaves and flowers have a cabbage-like taste, whilst the seeds taste like mustard.

Resources:

https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/wildflowers/honesty

https://www.wildfooduk.com/edible-wild-plants/honesty/

https://theseedvine.com.au/product/lunaria-annua/