1.4.11

Lucky Four or Five Leaf Clover

Article

There is a well known belief that finding a four leaf clover brings luck. The four leaf clover is an uncommon variation of the common, three leaf clover, and according to tradition such leaves bring good luck to their finders; especially if found accidentally. Each leaf of a clover has a symbolic meaning; one for hope, one for faith, one for love, and a fourth for luck.  

The three leaf ‘white clover’ plant is a deep green flowering vine with white blossoms. It is the original ‘shamrock’ plant of Ireland; the unofficial state symbol. Three leaf clovers were traditionally used in the Pagan era to symbolise the three phases of the moon, and for healing. They were also believed to be used by Saint Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity to the pre Christian Irish people.

In the Middle Ages, four leaf clovers were thought to allow the bearer to see fairies and plant sprites, which was why children often searched for them in order to see into the magical realm of the spirit world.

It has been estimated that there are approximately 10,000 three leaf clovers for every naturally producing four leaf clover; however this probability has not deterred collectors who have reached records as high as 160,000 four leaf clovers.

Four leaf clovers are found in their natural environments, naturally mutating from three leaf clovers, with their fourth leaf being smaller than the other three leaves. However, when the market as ‘lucky charms’ became obvious, companies began manufacturing four leaf clovers by feeding the three leaf clover a generically engineered ingredient and producing as many as 10,000 a day. 

If the manufacturing continues, it seems that our children may consider a five leaf clover to be even luckier than a four leaf clover. However, if you feel ‘unlucky’, from not having had the thrill of finding a four leaf clover, perhaps you can find comfort in the knowledge that the easily found three leaf clover freely offers the most important symbolic meanings of – hope, faith and love!


© Copyright Jan Reid-Lennox. All Rights Reserved.