Friday, March 4, 2011


In March, shamrocks seem to pop up everywhere. The three-leaved token of Irish luck has roots in both Druid and Christian traditions, but in Irish lawns, the plant is considered to be a weed. Here are some other facts about shamrocks...

Sham shamrocks?
Scholars, botanists and florists argue over the species of the Irish shamrock of lore. The shamrock is often counted as part of the clover family, but in drawings of the plant, the typically heart shaped leaves indicate wood sorrel, a member of the oxalis family.

Badge of rebellion.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, some Irish wore shamrocks to display their dissatisfaction with British rule. Thus the phrase "the wearing o' the green," is said to have originated during this period.

Snake stopper?
The shamrock was believed to be a remedy for snake and scorpion bites. Tradition holds snakes are never seen near shamrocks.

A wee bit of protection.
Shamrocks are thought to ward off any mischief a leprechaun might cause.

Here comes the luck!
To encourage a fortuitous union, shamrocks are sometimes placed in a brides bouquet or worn on a grooms lapel.

Note: To wet the appetite of its customers, McDonalds created in 1970 a seasonal specialty beverage called a Minty Green Shamrock Shake which they say is still as popular as ever.

A Mark of Ireland

While the Celtic harp is the official emblem of Ireland, the shamrock is a popular symbol too. The Irish airline Aer Lingus uses the shamrock in its logo, and the flag of Montreal features a shamrock to represent the Canadian city's Irish population.

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