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Four Leaf Clover

Four Leaf Clover – have you ever found a lucky one?

By Charles L Harmon

4-leaf clover

Four-leaf Clover


Even today, in this scientific era, the venerable four-leaf clover still has a place in the hearts of many. I’m in the USA, but the good luck tradition of this special clover isn’t just here, it’s in many places in the world. This old tradition of the four-leaf clover bringing good luck is often given to friends and sweethearts to express friendship or love. The four-leaf clover is a highly valued clover that is said to bring good luck in general.

A four-leaf clover is a rare (in nature) aberration of the familiar three-leaf clover which is very common here in the United States. It is said that only about 1 in 10,000 clovers are of the four-leaf variety. As far as clovers go, there should be no difference in effect of having either. But for the superstitious and even those of us that take superstitions lightly, four-leaf clovers are nothing to dismiss since they are so rare in their natural habitat.

A four leaf clover refers to its rare occurrence from a three leaf clover plant, the Trifolium repens or “white clover.” The white clover, although called white, is a deep green flowering vine with white blossoms. It is the original shamrock plant of Ireland. As far as symbols go it is the unofficial state symbol of Ireland. The shamrock itself already has some powerful associations, including supposedly keeping snakes out of Ireland. Along with this, and its uncanny ability to produce an extra leaf, makes the rare four leaf clover an especially lucky prize.

But with so much riding on the good luck qualities of the four-leaf clover a large industry has sprung up growing this rare variety. One well-known horticulturist says they have refined the breeding of four-leaf clovers to the point of about one of every forty-one plants are of the four-leaf variety. That’s due to the superstitious demands of a huge number of Americans.


Some Unusual 4-leaf Clover Gifts


Four-leaf clover charms abound and you can find them in gift shops and other places where lucky talismans and other “lucky” items are sold. Depending on what you find or buy, you can see four-leaf clovers encapsulated in plastic, all kinds of replicates of the clover, and even some items, including actual four-leaf clover plants for over $100.

One of many reasons the four-leaf clover is considered lucky is the mere fact that it is so rare and it is a freak deviation from a regular or normal three-lobed clover. A popular legend is that Eve, upon being ejected from the Garden of Eden, carried a four-leaf clover with her. Since this original source of this rare variation of clover was in this famous paradise then its presence in one’s own garden was a sign of good luck.

During the ages the three leaves of the white clover have become associated with the Christian Trinity, or God the Father, His Son, and The Holy Spirit. The extra leaf of the four leaf clover is said by some to stand for God’s grace.

Another less dogmatic interpretation is that one leaf stands for faith, another for hope, the third for love and the last for luck. A version of this is in this traditional saying:

One leaf for fame.

One leaf for wealth,

And one leaf for a faithful lover,

And one leaf to bring glorious health,

Are all in a four-leaf clover!

Another myth concerning the four-leaf clover besides the bringing of good luck, is that during the middle ages it was believed that those possessing a four-leaf clover had the magical ability to see plant sprites and fairies. Children would search the fields for this special clover so they could see fairies, witches, and whatever else roamed in the spirit world.

There are many more interpretations of why the four-leaf clover is lucky. But whatever you believe, or even choose to ignore concerning the four-leaf clover, it makes little difference to the millions of others that do believe in the power of this lowly little plant to bring good luck to those who possess it.

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Questions about Four Leaf Clover Luck

James asks…

Question about superstitions involving clovers?

My wife and daughter just came home with seven four leaf clovers that they found all growing together in one clover patch. They said they left the five (?!?) leaf clovers where they were, because they’re supposed to be bad luck? What’s the meaning behind a five-or-more leaf clover?
Doug J-Well, duh, we KNOW that. But I was looking for superstitions regarding the number of leaves.
That IS pretty funny, though 😀

Suzi Q answers:

The more the better…… The five leaf clover is not bad luck….

With 56 leaves–and presumably 14 times the luck of your run-of-the-mill four-leaf clover–this plant bred by farmer Shigeo Obara may be the most-leaved clover ever discovered.

George asks…

“If the man who cannot count finds a four-leaf clover, is he lucky?”?

What does this quote mean to you? To me it has endless meaning and emotion, it really strikes a note for me. What do you think about it?

Suzi Q answers: answers:

He has the same luck as anyone else, only-he’ll never know what he found. Thus never recognizing an opportunity.

Lizzie asks…

why are four leaf clovers lucky?

i’m just curious and i made up a friendship quote by it lol “True friends are like four leaf clovers. They’re rare and lucky to have.” 🙂

Suzi Q answers: answers:

Just because they’re so rare. That’s including both. The clovers and true friends. In the 36 years I’ve been looking for them, I’ve only found two.

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