Forager Friday with Diego. In season now: Clover

This is a classic, EVERYONE knows clover, and how many of us spent hours looking for the elusive four leaved one?

Some lucky folk finds 5, 6, even 7 leaved clovers ( the Guinness Record is held at 56 leaves!!), but the general understanding is that you need to find (and give away to maximise the returns) a four leaves clover. The chance to find one has been calculated to be 10,000 to 1. Wow, that's a lot of clovers scanning!

According to the legends the Druids (Celtic priests), in the early days of Ireland, believed that when they carried a three-leaf clover or shamrock, they could see evil spirits coming and have a chance to escape in time. Basically four leaved clovers were Celtic charms, presumed to offer magical protection and ward off bad luck. Each leaf have a meaning, the first one symbolising faith, the second hope, then love, then the forth brings luck.

THere's a trick in finding four leaves clovers. It has been proven that it is a genetic modification of the plant, so where you find one, most likely you would find more in the same plant, as those things run in the family. Also look out for healthy patches, booming with new shoots, as they would have higher chances to come out with the odd growth.


So, below there's a game for you readers, that would help your eyes get up to speed with the challenge. A kind of botanical Where's Wally. There is a few four-leaf clovers in this image - I can count 3. Can you spot them?

Find the four-leaf clovers, there are at least 3, can you find them?

But apart from the lucky part, did you know that many common clovers are also edible, and with renown medicinal property as well!

So let's start by saying that there are quite a lot of  varieties of clovers: red, white, pink.. about 250+ varieties.

The most common are red clover, trifolium pratense and white clover, trifolium repens. All of them provide great fodder for grazing animals and offer important ecological services, like fixing nitrogen in the soil where they grow, making it more fertile. Both are edible and have medicinal properties.

Red clover has been used in alternative medicine as a treatment for coughs, lymphatic system problems and a variety of cancers. However, according to the American Cancer Society, "available clinical evidence does not show that red clover is effective in treating or preventing cancer, menopausal symptoms, or any other medical conditions". uhmf

Oh well, it makes for a great tea though.

Happy hunting everyone :)

Further reading:  Plant for a Future profile  and wikipedia

Would you like to locate a patch of it? check Wild Food Map and enter a search on the top bar. Please harvest responsibly, NEVER over harvest, and ALWAYS look after the colony.