Don’t Press Your Luck! – Why you shouldn’t iron a shamrock and other clever clover “facts”!
In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, we wanted to bring you some fun and informational clover facts! So let’s start right out with the title of this post: Why shouldn’t you iron a four-leaf clover? You don’t want to press your luck! We know— it’s a little lame! Clovers have been associated with St. Patrick’s Day for as long as we can remember, but they are a great crop outside of their association with the Irish holiday as well. Here is some of our favorite information about this plant.
What’s with the shamrock?
Shamrocks, or young clover sprigs, are the symbol of Ireland today. How did they get there? St. Patrick is said to have considered their three leaves as a symbol of the Christian Trinity. This could be a legend, but it makes sense! The name shamrock came from the Irish word for clover.
As far as history tells us, while there is no proven link between St. Patrick and the shamrock, it has been a symbol of his holiday since the 17th Century. The association has grown stronger over the years, and today there are shamrocks worn on March 17th throughout the world.
More leaves mean more luck!
Three-leaf clovers are truly “shamrocks,” but finding one with four leaves is said to gives you lots of luck. So what if you find one with 56 leaves?! Fifty-six is the largest number of leaves on a clover stem on record. The Guinness Book of World Records says that this record was set in Japan in 2009 by Shigeo Obara, who has studied clovers for years.
The traditional, four-leaf lucky clover is very uncommon. According to legend, each leaf is associated with something. The four leaves are for faith, hope, love and luck! An estimation says that for every four-leaf clover there are 10,000 three-leaf clovers, so if you’ve found one, “lucky” you!
Clover’s family tree
The plants that give us four-leaf clovers come from the family Trifolium repens, White Clover. They grow naturally in the northern hemisphere, but some can be found in South America and Africa. It lives in the family of legumes, and is one of about 300 species in its genus. Clover plants tend to produce colorful flower heads in red, purple, white or yellow. Another member of this family? Peas!
While us humans only care for clovers for their luck, livestock consider them a sweet little snack. Clover is feed as a fodder feed to many varieties of livestock including horses, cows and pigs. Natural grazers up north tend to find clover in their pastures and it offers them fiber, calcium, protein and vitamins A and D. Animals are so partial to clover, in fact, that many farmers are growing it specifically for this purpose. At Growers Supply, we offer a Fodder-Pro 2.0 Feed System that is ideal for growing clover as part of a livestock feed regimen. It is done hydroponically and has a short, seven-day growing cycle.
Do you notice other animals hanging out in your yard? Maybe you have lots of natural clover! Deer especially love this source of food, but it is also enjoyed by birds, rabbits, foxes, woodchucks and groundhogs. Insects live in large part off of clover. Butterflies, honey bees and stink bugs can’t get enough of these lucky legumes.
Get your facts straight
Now that we have learned a little bit about clovers, their history and their usage, let’s dive into some fun (and crazy) facts!
- Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, was said to have carried a four-leaf clover with him everywhere he went. The one day time he left it at home? The night he was assassinated at Ford’s Theater.
- The youth club, 4-H, uses a four-leaf clover as their symbol. The leaves stand for head, heart, hands and health. The white portion of the symbol symbolizes purity and the green symbolizes growth.
- In France, the lotto logo is a four-leaf clover for good luck!
- In the middle ages, if children found a four-leaf clover they believed they would see fairies.
- In North America, the four-leaf clover, rabbits’ feet and horseshoes are the most common good luck charms.
We hope you learned a lot about clovers in today’s post! This St. Patrick’s Day be safe, have fun and carry a clover for luck! If you have another interesting clover fact (or myth) share it with us here!