Friday, March 11, 2011

The Illusive Shamrock

So, I had this really great idea to plant shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day. Have you seen the big leafed shamrocks in the floral department of your grocery store? They come in either purple or green and produce little flowers? That's what I was imagining. I had even picked these buckets and plant markers up from Target's dollar spot that would be perfect for a little St. Patrick's Day planting.

Before this story goes any further, let's mention that I spent 4 years getting a degree in plant science. So sometimes I think I know what I'm doing when it comes to plants. Other times I find out I'm still a baby in the huge world of plants.
My boys and I set out on an outing one afternoon to find shamrock seeds. The first nursery we visited told me they didn't have shamrocks, but they did have clover like you plant with grass seed. Not what I had in mind, so we continued on. At the end of the day we returned empty handed, no shamrocks had been found. Not to be one to abort mission without trying all possible sources, I turned to my trusty friend ebay and order some Official Irish Shamrock seeds. They arrived earlier this week and when I read on the back that it was going to take 21 days after I planted before I would have actual plants, I picked up a shamrock at the grocery store instead.
Turns out if you plant those seeds you'll actually get clover like the ones I used to spend hours combing through hoping to find a 4-leafed one. Much likely, the same thing our local nursery offered me (but instead I chose to pay much more money for the official Irish packaging and a few seeds).

The shamrock I bought is really a false shamrock native to South America and is actually a tuber. Which obviously means when I was looking for shamrock seeds I was way off.

Let's clarify one more time. If you plant those seeds you will not get that plant.

While I wish I was hoping to share a great St. Patrick's Day idea of planting shamrock seeds and ending up with a beautiful plant, I'm not. Instead you are getting a valuable lesson in Oxalis sp and Trefolium sp. a little plant knowledge to get you pepped up for spring!

I'm a nerd. There is no other explanation.

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