What is a shamrock?

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pp--afw-make-st-patricks-day-card-300x400St Patrick’s Day erupts in a sea of green, sprinkled with shamrocks. But what is a shamrock?

The story is that the druids held the shamrock as a sacred plant because of its three leaves – three being the magic number in druidism. So don’t get confused; it’s not a four-leaf clover.

When St Patrick arrived in Ireland from Wales he used the handy shamrock to illustrate the holy trinity of Christianity.

Show me a shamrock

We most often see the shamrock in illustrated form, not photos, so opinion varies on which plant is the true shamrock.

Trifolium dubium is most widely believed to be the true shamrock. It’s a type of clover, also known as the lesser trefoil, suckling clover, little hop clover or lesser hop trefoil.

shamrock - cottagegardenplantsdirect.co.ukSafeguard your shamrock supply for future St Patrick’s Days by buying shamrock seeds: £2.99 for 100 from Cottage Garden Plants Direct.

See more of my gardening writing.

 

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