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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