What are the Real Odds of Finding a Four-Leaf Clover?
We asked the experts to find out.
How would you feel if you were walking in your yard and found a four-leaf clover? Lucky, right?
Well, the actual chances of finding one is 1 in 10,000. Dr. John Frett, Professor of Landscape Horticulture and Director of the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens, says, "It is not that unusual. The 1 in 10,000 chance is for a 'typical' group of plants, a group that represents the statistical norm for the population. Individual plants vary in their propensity to produce the fourth leaflet, just like people vary in height. Breeders have selected varieties that produce as much as 50 percent of the leaves with four leaflets. Combined with the fact that clover spreads by underground stems, a large patch of clover can grow with an increased ability to produce greater than normal leaves with four leaflets leading to an increased rate of discovering the elusive four-leaf clover."
Four-leaf clovers represent faith, love, and luck. According to Clovers Online, authentic four-leaf clovers come from the White Clover plant. Many people believe that a shamrock is a four-leaf clover, but they are not the same. Irish tradition holds that the shamrock or three-leaf clover represents the Holy Trinity: one for the Father, one for the Son, and one for the Holy Spirit. Another way of identifying a real four-leaf clover is that the fourth leaflet is usually smaller than the other three leaflets.
Suzi Mekhitarian who lives in a suburb of Sydney, Australia found 21 four-leaf clovers in her front yard back in 2014. The Australian Botanic Garden Director of Science Brett Summerell said that Mekhitarian's patch of clover is unusual. "Instead of the dominant gene characteristics of the plant being three leaves, it is four, increasing the chances of this occurring in a single patch,'' he said. "There hasn't been a great deal of research into this so nobody knows why this occurs but I hear about it happening every five or six years." No matter what the facts, finding a four-leaf clover is still a sign of luck and worth keeping.
And while you're preparing for St. Patrick's Day, make these surprise balls filled with good-luck charms: