St. Patrick’s Day is approaching, which means you might see shamrock plants at grocery stores or local nurseries.
The word shamrock has its origins from the Irish word seamróg, meaning young clover. There are many clover plants belonging to different genera, which include Trifolium, Medicago and Oxalis, each generally with three leaflets.
Although the true shamrock of Irish legend is unknown and debatable, legend has it, if you find a shamrock with four leaves, you would have the luck of the Irish.
It gets murky because there are many clover plants that naturally grow four leaflets or even more! While others such as Oxalis acetosella have a genetic mutation, causing it to have four leaflets instead of its typical three.
In the Sonoran Desert, you can find shamrocks that have naturalized along roadsides, disturbed ground and even in your flower pots. One of the most common shamrock found in the desert is Oxalis corniculate, often growing as a weed.
Other Oxalis species are often sold commercially as houseplants with various leaf colors from green to purple. As with other houseplants, they prefer bright light to perform its best. Whatever shamrock plant you choose to celebrate with, go for it!