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Four-leaf white clover (Trifolium repens).

The four-leaf clover is a rare variation of the common three-leaf clover. According vĩ đại traditional sayings, such clovers bring good luck,[1] though it is not clear when or how this idea began. One early mention of "Fower-leafed or purple grasse" is from 1640 and simply says that it was kept in gardens because it was "good for the purples in children or others".[2]

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Four-leaf clovers have a frequency of approximately 1 in 5000, according vĩ đại a 2017 survey of approximately 7 million clovers conducted by Lidia and Uli Sperling of the trang web Share the Luck. The same survey found that the frequency of five-leaf clovers is 1 in 24,400, and of six-leaf clovers is 1 in 312,500.[3][4]

Even so sánh, this probability has not deterred collectors who have reached records as high as 160,000 four-leaf clovers in a lifetime.[5] The world record for number of four-leaf clovers collected in one hour is 166, phối by American Katie Borka on June 23, 2018.[6]

Clovers can have more phàn nàn four leaves. Five-leaf clovers are less commonly found naturally phàn nàn four-leaf clovers;[7][8] however, they, too, have been successfully cultivated.[9] Some four-leaf clover collectors, particularly in Ireland, regard the five-leaf clover, known as a rose clover, as a particular prize.[10] The most leaves ever found on a single clover stem (Trifolium repens L.) is 56 and was discovered by Shigeo Obara of Hanamaki, Iwate, nhật bản, on 10 May 2009.[11][12]


A four-leaf clover amongst others with three leaves

It is debated whether the fourth leaf is caused genetically or environmentally. Its relative rarity (1 in 5,000 clovers[3]) suggests a possible recessive gen appearing at a low frequency. Alternatively, four-leaf clovers could be caused by somatic mutation or a developmental error of environmental causes. They could also be caused by the interaction of several genes that happen vĩ đại segregate in the individual plant. It is possible all four explanations could apply vĩ đại individual cases. This means that multiple four-leaf clovers could be found in the same cloverplant.[13]

Researchers from the University of Georgia have reported finding the gen that turns ordinary three-leaf clovers into the coveted four-leaf types. Masked by the three-leaf gen and strongly influenced by environmental condition, molecular markers now make it possible vĩ đại detect the presence of the gen for four-leaves and for breeders vĩ đại work with it. The results of the study, which also located two other leaf traits in the white-clover genome, were reported in the July/August 2010 edition of Crop Science, published by the Crop Science Society of America.[14]

The other leaf traits, the red fleck mark and red midrib, a herringbone pattern that streaks down the center of each leaflet in a bold red color, were mapped vĩ đại nearby locations, resolving a century-old question as vĩ đại whether these leaf traits were controlled by one gen or two separate genes.

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White clover has many genes that affect leaf color and shape, and the three in the study were very rare. These traits can be quite attractive, particularly if combined with others, and can turn clover into an ornamental plant for use in flower beds.[15]

There are reports of farms in the US which specialize in four-leaf clovers, producing as many as 10,000 a day (to be sealed in plastic as "lucky charms") by introducing a genetically engineered ingredient vĩ đại the plants vĩ đại encourage the aberration (there are, however, widely available cultivars that regularly produce leaves with multiple leaflets – see below).[16]

Multi-leaved cultivars[edit]

A five-leaf Trifolium repens

There are some cultivars of white clover (Trifolium repens) which regularly produce more phàn nàn three leaflets, including purple-leaved T. repens "Purpurascens Quadrifolium" and green-leaved T. repens "Quadrifolium".[17] Some clovers have more spade shape leaves, rather phàn nàn the usual rounded ones. This may be a genetic mutation. Some genetic mutations in clovers include spade-like shaped leaves or a dotted rusty colour on the leaves.

Trifolium repens "Good Luck" is a cultivar which has three, four, or five green, dark-centered leaflets per leaf.[18]

Other species[edit]

Other plants may be mistaken for, or misleadingly sold as, "four-leaf clovers"; for example, Oxalis tetraphylla is a species of wood sorrel with leaves resembling a four-leaf clover.[19][20] Other species that have been sold as "four-leaf clovers" include Marsilea quadrifolia.[21][22]

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As a good luck charm[edit]

A mô tả tìm kiếm from 1869 says that four-leaf clovers were "gathered at night-time during the full moon by sorceresses, who mixed it with vervain and other ingredients, while young girls in tìm kiếm of a token of perfect happiness made quest of the plant by day".[23]

In an 1877 letter vĩ đại St. Nicholas Magazine, an 11-year-old girl wrote, "Did the fairies ever whisper in your ear, that a four-leaf clover brought good luck vĩ đại the finder?"[24]

Symbolic usage[edit]

Four-leaf clover pictured in the coat of arms of Lääne-Nigula Parish
The Four leaf clover is used as a symbol by multiple agrarian political parties in Northern and Eastern Europe
  • Italian automobile maker Alfa Romeo uses a quadrifoglio (four-leaf clover) icon vĩ đại delineate its racing cars and performance-oriented road models. This tradition started in the 1923 Targa Florio race, when driver Ugo Sivocci decorated his xế hộp with a green clover on a white background.[citation needed] As of 2022, the quadrifoglio is used on the company's race liveries.[25]
  • Los Angeles-based space exploration company SpaceX includes a four-leaf clover on each space mission embroidered patch as a good luck charm. Inclusion of the clover has become a regular icon on SpaceX's flight patches ever since the company's first successful Falcon 1 rocket launch in 2008, which was the first mission vĩ đại feature a clover "for luck" on its patch.[26]
  • Celtic Football Club, an association football team from Glasgow, Scotland, have used the four leaf clover as the club's official badge for over 40 years.
  • Former Japanese game developer studio Clover Studio used a four-leaf clover as their logo.
  • Several businesses and organisations use a four-leaf clover in their logos vĩ đại signify Celtic origins.[27][28][29]
  • The global network of youth organizations 4-H uses a green four-leaf clover with a white H on each leaf.[30]
  • The logo of the New Jersey Lottery features an outline of the state in white on a green four-leaf clover printed on a lottery draw machine ball.
  • The English-language imageboard 4chan features a four-leaf clover in its logo as a nod vĩ đại its predecessor, the Japanese site Futaba Channel (2chan), whose name means two leaves, leading 4chan vĩ đại be referred vĩ đại in nhật bản as yotsuba, meaning four leaves.
  • Traditional symbol of agrarian parties popularized by Republican Party of Farmers and Peasants, Bulgarian Agrarian National Union, People's Party and International Agrarian Bureau in interwar period. Used until today among others by Polish People's Party, Estonian Centre Party and Nordic agrarian parties.
  • In nhật bản, the Green Cars of Shinkansen use a four-leaf clover logo.


Some folk traditions assign a different attribute vĩ đại each leaf of a clover. The leaves have been used by Christians vĩ đại represent hope, faith, love and luck.[31] Others say that four-leaf clovers granted the power vĩ đại see fairies, or that they are related vĩ đại Saint Patrick's use of the shamrock vĩ đại explain the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity vĩ đại the Irish.[32][better source needed]

See also[edit]

  • Fern flower


  1. ^ Harry Oliver (2010). Black Cats & Four-Leaf Clovers: The Origins of Old Wives' Tales and Superstitions in Our Everyday Lives (reprint ed.). Penguin. ISBN 9781101442814.
  2. ^ Parkinson J. 1640. Theatrum Botanicum: The Theater of Plants or An Herball of Large Extent. Tho. Cotes. Publisher, London, Pp 1110-1112.
  3. ^ a b Sperling, Uli (24 July 2017). "How rare are four-leaf clovers really?". Share the Luck. Archived from the original on 5 December 2020.
  4. ^ Pollack, Nicole (17 March 2021). "Get Lucky This St. Patrick's Day". Sierra. Sierra Club. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  5. ^ George, Jason (17 March 2008). "160,000? That's a lot of luck". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  6. ^ Ross, Hailey (25 June 2018). "Spotsylvania girl charms her way into Guinness Book of World Records by finding 166 four-leaf clovers". Fredericksburg.com. The Free Lance-Star.
  7. ^ Hershey, David (16 March 2000). "Re: how common is a five leaf clover?". MadSci Network.
  8. ^ "Facts About Five-leaf Clovers". Clovers Online. Clover Specialty Company. 2004. Archived from the original on 27 December 2008.
  9. ^ "Five-leaf clover". Mt. Vernon Register-News. 14 October 2008. Archived from the original on 8 September 2012.
  10. ^ Mabey, Richard, Flora Britannica, p. 225 (citing Edward and Helene Wenis of Leonia, New Jersey, U.S., writing in BSBI News, 56, 1990)
  11. ^ "Most leaves on a clover". Guinness World Records. 10 May 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  12. ^ "WEEK IN PHOTOS: Unlucky Kangaroo, 56-Leaf Clover, More". National Geographic. 12 May 2009. Archived from the original on 18 May 2009. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  13. ^ Marcel Cleene, Marie Claire Lejeune (2002). Compendium of Symbolic and Ritual Plants in Europe: Herbs. Vol. 2. Man & Culture.
  14. ^ Tashiro, R.M., et al. Leaf Trait Coloration in White Clover and Molecular Mapping of the Red Midrib and Leaflet Number Traits. Crop Science 7 June 2010.
  15. ^ [1] The Georgia White Clover Ornamental Collection.
  16. ^ Mabey, Richard, Ibid, p. 225
  17. ^ Lord, Tony (ed), RHS Plant Finder 2006–2007, (20th edition), Dorling Kindersley, London, 2006, p. 743. ISBN 1-4053-1455-9
  18. ^ Killerplants.com Archived 2008-10-11 at the Wayback Machine (photo)
  19. ^ The Four Leaf Clover Kit (Mega Mini Kits) (Paperback). Amazon review. 12 September 2006.
  20. ^ Good Luck Plant Kit Archived 2008-12-27 at the Wayback Machine. FourLeafClover.com. Retrieved 7 December 2008.
  21. ^ All About Shamrocks Four-Leaf Clovers Archived 2008-12-14 at the Wayback Machine. LollySmith.com. Retrieved 7 December 2008.
  22. ^ Keenan, Susan M. The Four Leaf Clover Archived 2009-01-30 at the Wayback Machine. HotFact.com. 11 March 2008.
  23. ^ Masters MT. 1869. Vegetable Teratology, An Account of the Principal Deviations from the Usual Construction of Plants. Robert Hardwicke Publisher, London, P.. 356.
  24. ^ Child, Madge. 1877. In a letter titled "Four-Leaved Clovers," (St. Nicholas; an Illustrated Magazine for Young Folks), Volume 4, pp. 634-5, in the subsection of letters called "Jack-in-the-Pulpit", July 1877.
  25. ^ "The Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN. C42 is born". Alfa Romeo. 2022. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  26. ^ "SpaceX's 3rd Space Station Resupply Flight Gets 3-Sided Mission Patch". space.com. Retrieved 23 February 2015
  27. ^ "Clover Park School District Homepage". www.cloverpark.k12.wa.us.
  28. ^ "Clover Pub - European Pub". cloverpub.com.br.
  29. ^ "Celtic Computers | Laptop & PC Computer Repair". www.celtic-computers.co.uk.
  30. ^ "Elsie Carper Collection on Extension Service, trang chủ Economics, and 4-H". usda.gov. Retrieved 11 March 2016
  31. ^ Webster, Richard (2008). The Encyclopedia of Superstitions. Llewellyn Worldwide. p. 61. ISBN 9780738725611. Retrieved 18 July 2022.
  32. ^ Grauschopf, Sandra (20 November 2019). "11 Juicy Facts About Four-Leaf Clovers". thebalanceeveryday.com.