P00419
Lunaria annua is known more for coin shaped seed pods than bloom.

Money plant, Lunaria annua, which some may know as ‘honesty’, is honestly not a wildflower here. It is neither native nor naturalized. Yet, it seems to grow wild on roadsides, in drainage ditches, and around the perimeters of some of the landscapes. It certainly produces enough seed to naturalize. It just would not have done so in this climate without a bit of intervention.

Many years ago, someone who maintained the landscapes here started sowing seed for money plant. I do not know if he was the first to sow the seed, or if he collected it from plants that someone else grew. He collected seed annually to disperse randomly by simply tossing it out wherever he though it might happily grow into more money plant.

Since money plant wants a bit more water than it gets from annual rainfall here, it was happiest where it is most often seen now, in roadside drainage ditches and on the perimeters of irrigated landscapes. It somehow competes effectively with other seemingly more aggressive vegetation. In the more favorable situations, it self sows, but can not perpetuate indefinitely.

The horticulturist who dispersed the seed for so many years retired a few years ago. Consequently, there has been a bit less money plant annually since then. It certainly tries to naturalize, but was rather scarce last year.

We could not allow it to go extinct just yet. We collected some of the seed from the plants that bloomed last year. I dispersed a few where I thought they would be happy without being obtrusive in the landscapes. I gave most of the seed to a neighbor who happens to enjoy tossing random seed into random (but hopefully suitable) spots where wildflowers would be nice.

It is such a delightful tradition that is worth continuing.

15 thoughts on “Tradition

    1. I really do not know how long they can remain viable. I suppose it is relative to the conditions in which they are stored. I am sort of concerned that some of those that I collected from last year were not dispersed early enough to settle into damp soil with rain and the last bit of chill. (I do not know if they need chill.) I hope that if some do not germinate this year, that they do so next spring.

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    1. Does it naturalize there? Or should I say, does it become a weed there? I remember seeing it on the edges of highways between about Salem or so, and Issaquah. It did not seem to be too weedy.

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  1. I think that is a good idea to keep up with the tradition sowing seeds of flowers that do not become invasive. Scattering sendoff native wildflowers along the back roads would also be a good idea where it is unmaintained. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. This is not my favorite flowers, but I know others like it, and that they like knowing that they grew from what the other horticulturist sowed so many years ago. I never met the other horticulturist, but I do not want his tradition to die out.

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