four leafs

What is a Shamrock?

Trifolium repens (collected 1974 in Louisiana), aka white clover

by Mason Heberling

What is a shamrock? There is no overwhelming scientific consensus on which species is the well-known Irish national emblem. There was survey of Irish botanists in the early 1890s asking which species was the true shamrock. A similar survey was repeated in 1988. The results suggest the shamrock is either Trifolium dubium (aka lesser trefoil) or Trifolium repens (aka white clover).

The plants commonly sold around St. Patrick’s Day as shamrocks or four-leaf clovers are in the plant genus Oxalis (wood sorrel), which belong to different plant family than true clovers.

Trifolium dubium (collected 1961 in Pennsylvania), aka lesser trefoil


Oxalis tetraphylla (collected 1981 in India), aka lucky clover, although not a true clover

Oxalis debilis (collected 1989 in cultivation), aka pink woodsorrel


Mason Heberling is a postdoctoral research associate at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Museum employees are encouraged to blog about their unique experiences working with museum collections.

When speaking to various characters in Katawa Shoujo, their placement and size are often changed to reflect their current role and relationship in the conversation- they are larger when they are speaking loudly or confiding in you, smaller when they are less engaged or on the fringes, etc. Doing this, rather than fading them out as many visual novels tend to do, keeps every character relevant to the conversation, and conveys more information in the limited format.