Ladysmith Chronicle – Lifestyles – Ladysmith Chronicle

By Gary and Katherine Backlund The luck of clover

Published: May 24, 2010 5:00 PM
Updated: May 24, 2010 8:01 PM

Clover is an unassuming plant. It’s small, common and we really don’t pay much attention to it. For many people, clover is merely a weed that invades their perfect lawns.

Very few people actually plant the stuff, but we did years ago to prevent erosion on some steep skid trails. Some of the foresters didn’t think that it was a good idea as the clover would attract deer, which would also browse on our freshly planted tree seedlings. Fortunately, the deer were happy enough with the clover. 

Today, honey producers are happy to have large patches of clover for their bees.

Red clover is also used to make tea and has quite a range of health benefits including treating arthritis, eczema, infertility, and asthma. Going back in history, springbank clover was farmed by many Vancouver Island First Nations and the rhizomes (roots) were harvested as a food source.

 Clover is a member of the pea family. This plant has the ability to pull nitrogen out of the air and store it in nodules on its roots. As our local soil is often deficient in nitrogen due to our high annual rainfall, this nitrogen fixing is a good thing. Clover planters can buy inoculate to treat the seeds in order to increase clover’s nitrogen fixing abilities.

Have you ever found a four-leaf clover? Do they really bring good luck? We have been fortunate enough to find a patch of clover on Woodley Range with three, four, five and even six leaflets. We are not sure if this is caused by something genetic or environmental, but plan to transplant and propagate this anomaly.

After finding the lucky clover patch, our eyes were opened and we noticed some other patches of clover nearby with serrated edges and heart-shaped leaflets. There seems to be quite a genetic variation within the clover family. We know that there are two main introduced species of clover that grow around Ladysmith, the red and white clover. There’re also a few native species.

 In the wild, it’s estimated that you’ll find 10,000 three leaf clovers for every four-leaf one. The first leaf is said to stand for hope, the second for faith, the third for love and the fourth for luck.

Finding a five-leafed in the wild is a lot rarer than four and the record was set in June of 2008 when a fellow named Shigeo Obara found a clover with 21 leaves in Japan. He previously had the Guinness world record with 18 leaves. He must be one lucky guy.

 On Saint Patrick’s Day we looked up guidelines for finding four-leaf clovers and found this: four-leaf clovers usually grow in patches, are supposed to bring good luck and can be hard to spot with an untrained eye.

To train your eyes to spot four-leaf clovers, you can practice putting a penny on the ground and looking at the objects around it from a distance. Once you find a patch with a four-leafer, count the paces from a familiar landmark in the direction of the clover patch so you will be able to find it again later.

 Perhaps people think four-leaf clovers are lucky because people tend to be so delighted when they find them that the joy improves their life. Maybe it is because people who are able to find the special clover have good eyesight, are active, interested in the outdoors, and have a good eye for detail.

Hunting for four-leaf clover is an enjoyable pastime and it is good to appreciate the beauty in the seemingly simple things that nature has to offer.

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