Lunaria annua

Lunana, moonwort, or honesty, is a plant better remembered for its seed pods than for its flowers, though these are quite decorative, growing in purple clusters in- late spring; so are the toothed and heart-shaped leaves. But the seed pods are something special, transparent silvery discs the size of a florin which appear to gleam with an inner light.

Though it can be grown as an annual, honesty is more vigorous grown as a biennial, seed sown in early summer, thinned later, and transplanted to its flowering place in early autumn in the usual way. The plants 12 inches (30 cm) apart. Repeat the process the following year, after which you should have self-sown plants ad infinitum. The gleam of the pods is most pronounced in shady places, and as honesty likes light, dry soil, it is an ideal plant for growing under trees. Where it shimmers and crackles mysteriously. It is lovely with green foliage plants, especially hellebores.

There is a white-flowered form. ‘Alba’, and a variegated form, ‘Vanegata’. With green leaves edged with cream. Honesty is a famous plant for drying, but the stalks must be picked in good time before autumn weather can damage the pods.

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