Astonished by the lovely row of plants on the window sill, I reached for my camera. The trifoliate leaves were three inches across! Had I been mistaken all my life thinking shamrock was clover? Of course I went to Google and — if you’re wondering too, read more.
Ahh, Shamrocks are indeed clover. The lovely plants on the window sill are Oxalis, wood sorrell — often given as a gift on St. Patrick’s day.
The common wood sorrel is sometimes referred to as a shamrock
and given as a gift on St. Patrick’s Day. This is due to its trifoliate clover-like leaf, and to early references to shamrock being eaten. Despite this, it is generally accepted that the plant described as shamrock is a species of clover
, usually white clover (Trifolium repens
is a young sprig of clover
, used as a symbol of Ireland. Saint Patrick
, Ireland’s patron saint, is said to have used it
as a metaphor for the Christian Trinity
comes from Irish seamróg
, which is the diminutive
of the Irish word for clover (seamair
) and means simply “little clover”
or “young clover”
usually refers to either the species Trifolium dubium
(lesser clover, Irish: seamair bhuí
or Trifolium repens
(white clover, Irish: seamair bhán
). However, other three-leaved plants—such as Medicago lupulina
, Trifolium pratense
, and Oxalis acetosella
—are sometimes called shamrocks or clovers. The shamrock was traditionally used for its medicinal
properties and was a popular motif
But that’s not the end of the story! An article in USA Today 3/17/2015 reports on surveys on the question of which plant is the real shamrock.