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.
You must be logged in to post a comment.