It will be a long time before we see anything green or blooming in the Northeast.

Winter is a good time to look for interesting stalks and seed pods in the snow.

Well, this plant is not native to New York, and I think, it’s more interesting than beautiful.

I’ve seen it, in gardens, roadsides and woods, all my life.

Wikipedia indicates that Lunaria annua is naturalized, but native to the Balkans and SW Asia.

In both Europe and Asia, the common names refer to money:  silver dollar plant, the Pope’s money, coins of Judas, etc.

We’ve always called it “honesty.”

In winter, the stalks resemble an abandoned optician’s shop, vandalized by the winter, with old wire-rimmed spectacles, gone cloudy, or missing lenses.

It’s a tough, almost shrubby plant, that needs no care, and produces nice purple flowers, and self-seeds reliably.

The seed pods are brownish, flat, and oval – -you can see one hanging on in the pictures, darkened by exposure.

But when the outer layers drop off, it’s the inner part of the seed pod that a lot of people like to gather – – almost pearly, like discs of translucent parchment or paper.

In the last shot above, the membrane is shredded by the winter weather.  (Tattered honesty, this is New York, after all)

I think the last shot looks a bit sinister, like a display for “Sweeney Todd, Eye Doctor”

If you gather it in the fall, when it’s good and dry, you can slip off the outer covers, scatter the seeds, and bring in the money.

 

 

 

 

Finger Lakes, FLX, Frostbite, Nature, snow, Things to Do When Your Water Crystallizes on You, Upstate New York, Winter

Pictures of Upstate New York. January. Honesty, a bit tattered.

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24 thoughts on “Pictures of Upstate New York. January. Honesty, a bit tattered.

  1. We’re expecting colder weather, maybe even sleet and/or snow, wiothin the next few days. You, though, might very well consider our temperatures outright balmy. 😀
    Take care, and don’t freeze your a** off,
    Pit

    • I’m glad you liked them. The plant is probably more interesting dead than alive. The flowers are a nice purple, but kind of a scruffy, rough-looking flower. It membranes are very much like semi-translucent paper

  2. These images are really appealing. I once met a man who’d met a famous gardener, who’d given him some seeds. He, in turn, shared them with me. Imagine my disappointment when none of them came up. sigh. I don’t seem to do well with money. Honestly.

  3. We call it ‘Honesty’ here, too, and it’s a plant I love (and it reminds me it might be a nice addition to what we already have here. I’ve not seen it since we were in London). From what I remember, it’s a biennial – takes two years to complete it’s growing cycle, so its gardener needs patience!

    The seed heads, after the seeds have fallen away (or been removed by gently rubbing the outer parts away from the pearly inner) have always been used in the UK for florist displays.

  4. I’ve seen ’em out here too, although I didn’t know what they were called. I always liked that they provide something of interest in the season of sticks.

  5. These are exciting – I’ve never thought of this plant being glass-like (paper, yes, but not glass) and there it is – what a great job you’ve done! My favorites are the 1st, 3rd and last photographs. I’m glad you are making lemons out of that lemonade snow.

  6. My first thought was of old-fashioned eyeglasses. My second thought was that I’ve seen these, but never realized they were from actual plants. I don’t know what I thought they were, but I’ve always liked them. How did they get the name, “Honesty”? That’s really interesting.

    I tend not to prefer black and white photos, but I really do like the one you’ve included here. Not only is it pleasing, aesthetically, it reminded me of Ralphie finding his broken glasses in the snow on Christmas morning.

    • And now I can sleep. I finally remembered what “tattered” reminded me of: the lyrics about Jubilation T. Cornpone, from the musical, Li’l Abner:

      “When we almost had ’em but the issue still was in doubt,
      Who suggested the retreat that turned it into a rout?
      Why it was Jubilation T. Cornpone;
      Old “Tattered and torn – pone.”
      Jubilation T. Cornpone, he kept us hidin’ out!”

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