Give Now

Honesty Is Only One Of This Plant’s Common Names

This biennial plant has been and remains popular in gardens over many generations.

Money plant (Glenn Fleishman/flickr).

There’s a lot of folklore associated with an easy-going plant that we’re talking about today. It has the common name of “honesty,” and it’s also known as money plant. I read in a book by Alice Coats that there are many other colorful names for this plant, such as two-pennies-in-a-purse and money-in-both-pockets.

These names evolved because of the plant’s unusual seed pods that are dark colored, slightly moon shaped, and have three layers that anchor the large seeds. The middle layer is almost translucent, and because one can see the seeds through it, the name honesty seems appropriate, I suppose. The transparent layer of the seed pod that is revealed when the rest of the pod is removed makes the dry stems look attractive in a vase.

This biennial plant has been and remains popular in gardens over many generations, and it liberally self-seeds. The botanical name is Lunaria, maybe because of one of the oldest common names, which is moonwort.

Gerard wrote about honesty and said, “Among our women it is called honesty,” but he also referred to it as satin flower or penny flower. The translucent, rounded film that remains once the black seeds have been dispersed is coin shaped, so all of the many common names of Lunaria make sense, as well as all of them being quite quaint.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

View all posts by this author »

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Focus on Flowers:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Focus on Flowers

About The Host

Search Focus on Flowers

Focus on Flowers on Flickr