Monday, 13 May 2013


This most attractive biennial plant is, perhaps surprisingly, a member of the Cabbage Family, Brassicaceae. I admire it for the lovely pinkish-purple flowers but it is also valued for the silvery, moon shaped fruits - to which the generic name "lunaria" (Latin, luna - the moon) refers. Another old name is Money Plant - presumably again a reference to the silvery coin-like fruit. (Technically it is just the septa of the fruit which have the silvery colour.)

Honesty at Canons Ashby 4 May, 2013
Honesty not native to Britain but comes from south-east Europe. It is nevertheless frequently seen at roadsides, etc, as a garden escape. As the new Northamptonshire flora* states, "it does not persist" but I find that, if competition is not too intense, it will linger for quite a few years. It is frequent at roadsides around Byfield.

It is accepted as a food plant by one of my favourite butterflies, the Orange-tip (Anthocaris cardamines), and other butterfly larvae will also make use of it, as will long-tongued bees - a good plant therefore for those who like to make their garden wildlife-friendly. It produces plentiful seed, making propagation simple. 

*Two days ago I received my copy of the new "Flora of Northamptonshire and the Soke of Peterborough" by Gill Gent and Rob Wilson.

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