St. Patrick's Day
"I'm looking over a four-leaf clover that I overlooked before ..." ~ "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover", Mort Dixon and Harry M. Woods, 1927
In 2014, a Glen Alpine, New South Wales woman plucked 21 four-leaf lucky clovers from her front yard, the odds of which are staggering as the chance of finding a single four-leaf clover is about one in 10,000! Each leaf is traditionally symbolic - standing for faith, hope, love and luck. St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is said to have used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with the fourth leaf representing the Grace of God. Do you feel lucky?
By designer Carol A.L. Martin, the colors in the Four-Leaf Clover tartan evoke the shades of clover leaves and flowers, in intense magical shades marking the discovery of a lucky four-leaf clover.
The four-leaf clover is a rare variation of the common three-leaved clover. According to tradition, such leaves bring good luck to their finders, especially if found accidentally. In addition, each leaf is believed torepresent something: the first is for faith, the second is for hope, the third is for love, and the fourth is for luck.
Clovers can have more than four leaves: The most leaves ever found on a single clover stem (Trifolium repens L.) is 56 and was discovered by Shigeo Obara of Hanamaki City, Iwate, Japan, on 10 May 2009. Five-leaf clovers are less commonly found naturally than four-leaf clovers; however, they, too, have been successfully cultivated. Some four-leaf clover collectors, particularly in Ireland, regard the five-leaf clover, known as a rose clover, as a particular prize.
Shown above, Oxalis tetraphylla - also known as "lucky leaf" and even "four-leaf clover", it is not a true clover.
4-leaf clovers are a mutation of the usually 3-leafed White Clover plant, Trifolium repens. One clover is actually one leaf of a larger plant, with 3 leaflets. Mutations can occur due to a low frequency recessive gene or environmental causes. Often the reason for mutation is differentiable from one clover to another.
For instructions on how to find a real four-leaf clover that you can put into practice today, click the picture of oxalis tetraphylla.
May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.