Honesty - Lunaria Annua

Honesty - Lunaria Annua 

Honesty seedpods are so beautiful, especially at this time of year when there's not a huge amount happening in the garden. The Latin Name for Honesty is Lunaria Annua, Lunaria meaning moon-shaped, coming from Luna because the seed pods look a little like the moon - it's a perfect name.  This plant has so many common names inlcuding Moonwort, Money Flower and Silver Dollar - the seedpods also look a little like coins.  (read more on Understanding Latin Plant Names here)

Why is Lunaria Annua called Honesty in the UK? 

It is believed the name Honesty comes from the fact the seed pods are transluscent and so not hiding their contents.

Honesty - Lunaria Annua 3rd February

These seedpods are actually correctly named silicles / siliqua (which is a word for a type of dry fruit / seed capsule) and are an extraordinary flat and round shape with a spike.  Interesting that the word siliqua is a name for a Roman coin!

When ready, the spike acts a little like a ring-pull separating the two discs which enclose the seeds.  The seeds scatter but one side of the silicle remains on the plant. A very neat design - I'd love to find out why it has evolved like this.

The plant itself  (in my opinion) is not that special, so it isn't until you see the seedpods that you really notice and appreciate Honesty. I'm going to make a special effort to look at the flower in detail to see how it then becomes this flat and papery seed pod.

Honesty - Lunaria Annua 3rd February

You can see the silver sheen in this picture, showing that the seeds have already scattered. It looks amazing with the light behind it.

This plant will self seed easily - so once you have some in your garden you can expect to see it back!

Buy seeds Lunaria Annua from Thompson & Morgan

RHS description of Honesty - Lunaria Annua
GenusLunaria can be annuals, biennials or perennials, with triangular-ovate leaves and leafy racemes of 4-petalled flowers in late spring and early summer
DetailsL. annua is a hardy annual or biennial, with toothed, heart-shaped leaves, and large, open clusters of purple flowers in late spring and early summer, followed by flat, round, silvery seed pods
Plant rangeEurope