Current Moon Phase

Waning Gibbous
95% of full

Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

What is a Shamrock?

What is a Shamrock?

Legend and tradition states that the shamrock was a vital part of St. Patrick’s teachings. He used its three rounded leaves growing on a single stem as a natural symbol simplify the concept of the Trinity. It is also said that the deep green color of the shamrock, which became Ireland’s emblem, cancels out the superstition that it is bad luck to wear green.

But what is a Shamrock?
What plant St. Patrick chose as the shamrock has been debated for some time. There are several strong candidates among the members of the pea family. White clovers are a natural choice for the original shamrock. These ground-hugging plants are native to Europe and naturalized in this country. They grow in pastureland, to the delight of dairy herds, and in lawns, to the dismay of gardeners.

A rose-flowered variety of white clover (trifolium repens minus) is listed in some seed catalogs as the “true Irish shamrock.” Yet, there are those who opt for hop or yellow clover (T. procumbens.)

There are few who claim another member of the pea family as the real shamrock. Some taxonomists cross family lines and choose a wood sorrel, which is not even a legume.

Legends Abound.
There is more to the legend surrounding the shamrock. The trefoil in Arabic is called shamrakh. It was held sacred in Iran as an emblem of the Persian Triads. And in his “Natural History,” Pliny claims that serpents are never found where trefoil grows, and that the plant prevails against the strings of snakes and scorpions.

Care for Sharmrocks.

Small two-and-one-half-inch pots of shamrock go on sale at city florists and plant shops as soon as March 17 arrives. These are plants of Trifoliym repens minus. It is suggested that potted shamrocks be kept in a well-lighted but cool place. The seed was planted thickly in the pots so the clover foliage is dense. Since leaves may rot if kept too wet, setting them in a saucer of water until moisture seeps to the top to the soil should water the plants. Set aside to drain and do not water again until the soil dries out.

1 comment

1 Rose Menefee { 03.17.12 at 12:51 pm }

Fun stuff

Leave a Comment

Note: Comments that further the discussion of the above content are likely to be approved. Those comments that are vague or are simply submitted in order to promote a product, service or web site, although not necessarily considered "spam," are generally not approved.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.