Honesty (Lunaria annua) Identification

Honesty / Spring / Summer / Autumn / Edible

Honesty (Lunaria Annua) Identification

A naturalised, annual/biennial, flowering plant.

Common Names

The Honesty plant, Annual Honesty, Money Plant.

Botanical Name

Lunaria Annua

Scientific Classification

Kingdom – Plantae

Order – Brassicales

Family – Brassicaceae

Physical Characteristics for Honesty


Large, oval, hairy leaves, lobbed with a point at the end.

Josep Gesti, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


Purple, cruciform flower, growing on tall stems.

Syrio, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


The seeds pods are almost see-through papery disc, small seeds are contained inside. A key identifier for the plant.

Unai.mdldm, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


Hedgerows, field edge, parks.

Known Hazards

None Known.

Could be Confused with…

Other members of the Brassica family but they are all edible.

Edible Uses

All parts of this plant are edible.

The root can be roasted like potatoes.

The leaves which have pleasant mustard meets cabbage flavour can be eaten raw or cooked like cultivated cabbage. Harvest the leaves before the flowers appear as they get bitter after this point.

The seeds taste like horseradish or mustard and can be crushed with a little water for a mustard alternative.

The green seeds pods are lovely straight off the plant and have a fiery horseradish flavour.

Notes on Herbal Uses

An acid obtained from the seeds is used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Extra notes from the Foragers

The Latin name for the plant derives from Lunaria meaning moon-shaped in reference to the seed pods.

In witchcraft the seeds are believed to bring prosperity and keep away monsters.

Christian Fischer, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

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