Mystery surrounds shamrock
AS ST PATRICK’S Day approaches I thought I would write about the shamrock – the national emblem of Ireland. But what is a shamrock? Well that is a hotly disputed question and still remains a mystery as to which native plant in Ireland can be named the shamrock. It could be one of a few plant species – namely the white and red clover, black medick, wood sorrel or the favourite the lesser yellow trefoil. All of them have three lobed leaves and are quite common across Ireland and in the south east region as well. The lesser yellow trefoil has yellow flowers and is a small plant, as is the black medick. The wood sorrel has whitish flowers and carpets woodlands during the spring, while the red and white clovers are more familiar in lawns and grassy areas. The English word shamrock was used as a much closer pronunciation of the Irish word “seamrog” which means ‘little clover’. The three-leaved shamrock was thought to have been used by St Patrick to illustrate the Holy Trinity to the people of Ireland.
For more information contact Owen Leyshon, Romney Marsh Countryside Project, telephone 01797 367934 or log on to www.rmcp.co.uk