Looking Over the Four-Leaf Clover

The four-leaf clover is an uncommon variation of the common, three-leaved clover. According to tradition, such leaves bring good luck to their finders, especially if found accidentally. In addition, each leaf is believed to represent something: the first is for faith, the second is for hope, the third is for love, and the fourth is for luck.

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

Image courtesy of Igor / Kozzi.com

Image courtesy of Igor / Kozzi.com

Clovers can have more than four leaves: The most leaves ever found on a single clover stem (Trifolium repens L.) is 56 and was discovered by Shigeo Obara of Hanamaki City, Iwate, Japan, on 10 May 2009.  Five-leaf clovers are less commonly found naturally than four-leaf clovers;  however, they, too, have been successfully cultivated.

Traditionally children have been told that a five-leaved clover is even luckier than a four-leaved one. Some four-leaf clover collectors, particularly in Ireland, regard the five-leaf clover, known as a rose clover, as a particular prize.

If one wants to find a four-leaf clover, they should look in a patch of white clover ( Trifolium repens) or red clover ( Trifolium pratense) to find genuine mutant clovers.

History of the Four Leaf Clover

The four leaf clover is a universally accepted symbol of good luck with its origin ages old. According to legend, Eve carried a four leaf clover from the Garden of Eden.

“The clovers also occupied a position in the cultural life of early peoples. White clover (T. repens  L.) in particular was held in high esteem by the early Celts of Wales as a charm against evil spirits.” -Clover Science and Technology”. N.L. Taylor, 1985.

Druids held the 4 leaf clover in high esteem and considered them a sign of luck. In 1620, Sir John Melton wrote: “If a man walking in the fields find any four-leaved grass, he shall in a small while after find some good thing.

The mystique of the four leaf clover continues today, since finding a real four leaf clover is still a rare occurrence and omen of good luck.