The Money Plant

By Amy Grant | July 8, 2022
Image by MiaZeus
by Amy Grant
July 8, 2022

When I was a little girl my sister and I used to spend hours at our great grandparents’ home, outside, running amok through what we thought were acres of land. It turned out that the property was anything but acres — instead it was a standard city sized lot and half — but to two small children it seemed massive. 

A City Garden

My great grandparents had actually moved to this home after selling acres; they had owned a farm. Upon moving to the “big city” the urge to grow and produce everything they could was still ingrained in them. 

This meant that the entire landscape was covered in edible plants and trees. They had a mini orchard, brambles of various berries, a huge veggie garden, ample herbs, and more. It was a wonderland to us. 

Our favorite thing in the entire garden was something Grandma called a money plant. As you can imagine, the name conjured up thoughts of riches even though we barely realized what money meant. 

My sister and I used to pluck the ripe “coins” from the plant and use them as play money. It wasn’t until years later, umm, this year actually, that I read more about the money plant and realized that the “coins” are actually seed pods or silicles. 

Lunaria Annua

The money plant of my great grandparents’ garden is actually called Lunaria annua, a relative of mustard and despite the name, a biennial. All parts of lunaria can be eaten; the leaves and blooms can be added to salads, the taproot peeled and eaten, and the “coins” ground and mixed with cold water as a mustard substitute. 

Lunaria is also known as the honesty plant, and honestly, I have no idea why my frugal, practical grandparents were growing this specimen. Perhaps they used the “coins” as a mustard substitute or maybe they just grew it to entertain two little girls.

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