Green Fingers I Wish

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Facts About Shamrocks

Having just returned from a visit to Ireland I thought I`d take a look at the Emblem of Ireland - the Shamrock. Now, hands up if you thought there was an actual Shamrock plant? I have to admit I half thought there was myself, so I was enlightened by this piece of research:-

Facts About Shamrocks

Do you know that there is no such thing as a "Shamrock Plant"? The word shamrock comes from the Irish word "seamrog" meaning "little clover". However, there are hundreds of varieties of clover. The question is...what is the "Original Irish Shamrock"? Here is what some respected authorities have to say:

"The true Irish Shamrock, as identified by Nathaniel Colgan c. 1893 is a clover. It is not one of any or many clovers, it is one species, collected from a majority of counties at that time and with the exception of a very few plants, the majority were Trifolium repens or a form of this plant - White clover also known as Dutch Clover".

"White Clover, Trifolium repens forma minus, family Leguminosae, was the original shamrock of Ireland..." Academic American Encyclopedia, Vol. 17, 1990.

"In Ireland, the plant most often referred to as shamrock is the white clover." The World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 17, 1993.

"Those most commonly called shamrocks are: the white clover, Trifolium repens, a creeping white-flowered perennial..." Collier's Encyclopedia, Vol. 20, 1992.

"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. According to Evans (1957), this pagen tradition was continued by early Christian leaders and became the symbol of the Holy Trinity for the Irish people." Clover Science and Technology, N.L. Taylor, 1985.

Saint Patrick used the plant to illustrate the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Shamrocks have been considered by the Irish as good-luck symbols since earliest times, and this superstition has persisted in modern times among people of many nationalities. On March 17th, St Patrick's Day is celebrated around the world, with the "wearin' o' the green".


2 Comments:

  • Interesting....I admit I always thought there was a plant 'shamrock' my Dad was born on St.Patricks day and he used to wear a piece of 'shamrock' ...I suppose if we look at the beginning of the word SHAM..that should have told us teehee :o)

    By Anonymous Norma, at 6:27 pm  

  • The scientific name derives from the Latin tres, "three", and folium, "leaf", so called from the characteristic form of the leaf, which has three leaflets (trifoliate); hence the popular name trefoil.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:14 pm  

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