Along the Garden Path: Finding a four-leaf clover


A clover leaf with four leaflets, rather than the typical three, is thought to bring good luck.

The four-leaf clovers are thought of as a good luck charm in part because of its rarity in nature. It is estimated that the chances of finding a four-leaf clover are one in 10,000.

According to Irish beliefs, the superstition stems from priests who used the shamrock for healing the sick in worship rituals and to ward off evil. Prior to this, St. Patrick had found the three-leaf clover to be an extraordinary plant.

Each of the four leaves on the lucky charm has a specific meaning – faith, hope, love and luck.

If you’re feeling unfortunate or you just need a quick good-luck charm, you’ll want to know how to find one. With searching strategies and a good eye, you’ll find a four-leaf clover in no time at all.

If you find a patch in which many of the plants have four leaves, it’s probably a clover look-alike, such as Marsilea quadrifolia, leaves have a triangular shape with rounded corners, and grows in wet soil and water, or Oxalis tetraphylla/deppei with purple in the center, where the four leaflets meet. The plants that produce the four-leaf clover is a patch of white clover, Trifolium Repens, identified by white flowers, because they’re more likely to produce a four-leaf plant than other types of clover.

When you are starting out, don’t stare down every single clover. Brush over the clover gently with your foot so that you can see them all. This should catch the more conspicuous clovers. Your eyes will naturally go to the odd one out. If you find three or more in less than three minutes, you probably have a hot spot. Mark this place and visit it often, because the mutation will happen again. You can usually get ten or so out of a well-sized “hot spot” with close inspection.

Most four-leaf clovers have one leaf that is smaller than the other three. Some leaves have white or red or no lines. The leaves can be rounded or heart-shaped.

It is commonly thought that four-leaf clovers are actually caused by a genetic defect in the root of the clover plant. Most clovers in patches are either growing from one plant or a network of plants. So, the chances are that if you’ve found one defected clover, there’s likely to be more there. Place a small flag, or the like, to mark it so you can check the rest of the areas.

So, always be on the lookout for a flour-leaf clover because you can never have enough good luck!

By Charlene Thornhill

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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