Happy St. Patricks Day!
It seemed a timely day to talk about clover. The clover is a symbol of Ireland, and of St. Patrick Day specifically as it is said that St. Patrick used it to explain the trinity to the Irish people. Legend says that he would explain that just as the clover has three separate leaves and yet is one leaf, so the three persons of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) are separate yet one.
In my yard here in Texas there are two kinds of clover...one which I like, and one which I'm not as fond of.
I don't have any of this kind of clover (White Clover), though it does grow in Texas...
...though I would love to have some, as you can make tea out of the blossoms and use the roots in soups. However, probably the ones in Texas aren't the best for that, as clover grown in warm climate can contain cyanide (small amounts...but still). Granted, it's a small amount, and probably no more dangerous than what you'ld find in almonds, spinach or soy (surprize surprize...we can eat small amounts). I've heard of many naturalists, including ones in the south, eating them with no harmful results. Some people are allergic to clover too, so if you try some, even the safe clover from up north, try a small amount first. Also, clovers should be eaten fresh or dried, never fermented.
Now, here's another clover clover that does bless my yard....
This is actually, technically, a type of Wood Sorrel, not clover. I've seen this plant in Texas with flowers in yellow, white, and light pink. The seed pods are edible in small quantities, but toxic in large amounts. So, throwing a few in your salad is great (they are high in vitimin C) but don't eat them by the cup-full, and avoid them altogether if you have gout, rheumatism and kidney stones.
You can see a close up of the pods, to the right.
The "clover" below however, is not so nice (but not as bad as I used to think it was).
It's called Burr Clover for it's circular, spiky looking burs. I USED to think that it was the culprit for these hard, painful spiky things that keep me from walking in my yard barefoot....but those are actually SANDBRS (also known as Goats Heads). Sandburs are horrible because they are barbed in a way that makes them very painful to remove. You actually have to yank them out (which is hard to do without embedding them in your fingers)--you can't just pull them out gently because they're barbed like little hooks. I had assumed that "clover" burrs hardened into those because I always seemed to pick up those burs when stepping through an area of my yard that was covered with them. Turns out it was sandburs growing in the same area. (sand burs just look like grass until they seed...horrid stuff). Bur clover does catch in pet fur and clothing, but is more of a nuisance than a pain.
You can't just mow low to get rid of sand burs or bur clover because bur clover creeps low to the ground and sand bur will just go to
Sand burrs are a horrible plant and I really don't care if it does have any beneficial uses.
There's is a song I found called "Burr Clover Farm Blues", but it's about missing some farm with that name. I wrote a Burr Clover blues version back when I thought they were the culprit, not the sand burrs. Here it is with "sand burr" now replacing "Bur Clover."
I got the Sand Burr Blues,
Makes me gotta wear shoes,
I try to get rid of it but
it grows tried and true.
I got the sand burr,
sand burr, sand burr blues.
Now for my questions...
- What is the worst weed to curse your yard?
- Do you have any weeds that you like? That bless your yard?
Thanks! If you have a blog and would like to post your own questions you can leave your link on the appropriate day at the linkys at 2 Questions Thursday and Aloha Friday.
Images listed as creative commons on Flickr by Burning Question, and Abbamouse. Illustration is public domain found here.