SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Everyone could use a little luck and four-leaf clovers might be the best solution in the month of March, but keep in mind shamrocks and clovers are not the same thing. Four-leaf clovers aren’t even associated with St. Patrick’s Day.
It is estimated that there are around 300 different species of clovers found throughout much of the world.
They are identified by their heart-shaped leaves, of which they usually have three.
Although all shamrocks are clovers, not all clovers are shamrocks. St. Patrick is believed to have used a traditional shamrock with three leaves to represent the holy trinity. Any more or less than three clovers are not considered as a shamrock.
A four-leaf clover is a rare genetic mutation, and their unusual appearance has led to them being associated through folklore with good luck.
According to Parade.com, Four-leaf clovers are considered lucky for their rarity. In the Middle Ages, it was believed by some Celtic groups that wielding a four-leaf clover would help you see fairies, as well as to ward off evil spirits and grant the holder good luck.
It’s unclear exactly when the four-leaf clover tradition began, but we do know one of the first times it was mentioned in writing that hasn’t been lost in antiquity: John Melton wrote in the 1600s, “If a man walking in the fields find any four-leaved grass, he shall in a small while after find some good thing.”
If you do happen to find one… keep searching that area! A 2017 survey concluded that around 1 in 5,000 clovers is four-leaved, but they do tend to be found in clusters. Statistically, if a clover plant produces one four-leaf clover, it’s likely to produce more of them than normal plants would.