The lucky three-leaf shamrock is the national flower of Ireland. The shamrock is one of the most widely known symbols of a country, and this jolly three-leaved specimen is known the world over for the country it symbolizes and the great traditions that span from Ireland. The shamrock is an unofficial state flower of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The bright green cluster of three leaves has become synonymous with the rolling green hills and lushness of the island, but it is not officially recognized as a state flower.
Unlike most countries that officially recognize a flower as a national symbol, Ireland chose to register the shamrock as a trademark of the Irish government. This hasn’t stopped Irishmen and women the world over from using the shamrock as part of a logo, sign or decoration for all things Irish.
The historical accounts of the shamrock are questioned to a degree. It was circulated, nearly 1200 years after his death, that St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, had used the three leaves of the shamrock to discuss the Trinity of Christian faith. While certainly worthy of such an example in a religiously minded community, the story lives on only as a legend. It is still a common practice today, however, for followers of St. Patrick to wear a shamrock in their lapel on his feast day – St. Patrick’s Day.
The National Flower of Ireland
The shamrock is a prolific form of clover found throughout Ireland. Rumor has it that the true shamrock, or white clover, will only grow in Irish soil, but this is in fact far from the truth. However, it is best outside of temperature zones 8 and 9 to grow shamrocks inside to better control the temperature and light exposure.
Shamrocks need bright light although not full sun. They also require temperatures no greater than 72 degrees during the daytime to ensure they don’t enter an early state of dormancy. Even with proper temperature control, the shamrock plants will enter 2-3 dormant periods per year where leaves die and the plant appears to be dead. Wait it out watering very occasionally and the shamrock will come back in even better shape than before. Plant shamrock in window boxes or long containers as the plant grows by sending out feelers that then take root.