Monday, March 30, 2020

The Shamrock Plant



In my shop you can find my latest art print of the lovely Shamrock. It is the symbol of Ireland and Saint Patrick and associated botanically with two types of plants, Trifolium and Oxalis. It’s not clear which one of the two is the true shamrock but many species of each grow as wild weeds in the woods and open fields in many parts of the world and some are cultivated as house or garden plants. The Oxalis Pes Caprae or Cape Sorrel depicted in the art here, is native to South Africa and is often considered an invasive weed in North America and Europe. However like many weeds, the benefits of the Oxalis Pes Caprae are underestimated. It is ecologically beneficial to bees and butterflies that collect pollen from it’s little yellow flowers which appear when plant matures. It’s underground root bulb is also a popular food source for wildlife and as a ground cover in natural open spaces, it helps prevent soil erosion.

I discovered this Oxalis in my garden recently and I love the delicate heart-shaped leaves and how they overlap in different sizes as they grow facing upward. They seem ordinary and insignificant but yet up close they are truly charming. When I see them sprouting every spring, I gently pull out the ones I don’t want leaving some on the side for the pollinators to enjoy.

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