Lunaria: The History and Symbolism of the Honesty Flower

Although most flowering plants are highly valued for their attractive fresh blooms, a few have gained popularity for other purposes. In this guide, I’ll run through everything you need to know about Honesty flower (Lunaria annua) meaning, symbolism, and cultural significance in the language of flowers.

Your Ultimate Guide to Honesty Flowers (Lunaria annua)

History and Origins of Honesty Flowers 

Purple flowering Honesty Flowers 

Honesty flower (Lunaria annua) is a fast-growing herbaceous biennial known by many other names such as Moonwort, Dollar Plant, Silver Dollar, Honesty, Money Plant, and Lunaria

Though known popularly for their fruits and seed pods, these plants’ flowers are prized as much for their attractive blooms. Each raceme flower blooms in mid-late spring to early summer, showcasing four petals in pink or deep purple to white shades.

The Meaning & Symbolism of Honesty Flowers

A single purple flower blooms at the tip of an honesty plant branch

The genus name Lunaria originates from the Latin word luna, which translates to “moon” or “moon-shaped”. It refers to the shape of the seed pods. 

It was believed to be coined “honesty” during the 16th century. While honesty flowers are known as silver dollars or Chinese coins, particularly in the United States, it is also referred to as the money plant in Southeast Asia.

Because of its seed pods’ silvery coin-like appearance, these plants are called “Pope’s money” in France or “papal coins” generally in Europe. In Denmark, honesty flowers are known as the “coins of Judas” or judaspenge, referring to the popular tale of Judas Iscariot and the price he paid for betraying Jesus. 

Honesty Flowers in Floriography

The name “honesty flowers” itself is a giveaway regarding this plant’s meaning in the language of flowers, as it represents honesty. Other meanings of the plant include sincerity and wealth or money. 

In folklore, honesty flowers are used in spells to protect against monsters and to attract prosperity. 

Honesty Flowers Guide: Wrapping Up 

With the attractive, one-of-a-kind seed pods being the key feature of honesty flowers, it is no doubt that this plant is like no other ornamental plant. The beautiful and fragrant flowers, rich in symbolic meaning, sure add value to gardens or floral arrangements, either fresh or dried, but the silvery coin-like seed pods are another winning feature. 

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