Honesty

©Burkmarr

Honesty

Scientific name: Lunaria annua
The papery, translucent, silver 'coins' of Honesty are instantly recognisable. They are actually the leftover seed pods that dangle from the plant through winter.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 90cm

Conservation status

Introduced, non-native species.

When to see

January to December

About

Originally from south-east Europe, Honesty is a garden escapee that can often be found on waste ground, railway cuttings and roadside verges. Its purple flowers appear in May and June and are attractive enough, but it's the seed pods that most people will recognise - translucent and papery silver 'coins' that hang on the skeleton of the plant throughout the winter. In fact, it is known as the 'Money Plant' in South East Asia and 'Coins of Judas' in The Netherlands. Here, the name Honesty likely arose from the see-through nature of the pods.

How to identify

Honesty has heart-shaped, green leaves with toothed edges, and pink, purple or white flowers with four petals. The flowers are followed by the recognisable oval, papery seed pods.

Distribution

Common in England, but scarcer in other parts of the UK.

Did you know?

The attractive silver 'coins' of Honesty are regularly used in flower arrangements.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts record and monitor our local wildlife to understand the effects of various factors on their populations, such as the introduction of new species. You can help with this vital monitoring work by becoming a volunteer - you'll not only help local wildlife but learn new skills and make new friends along the way.