Introduction: 4-leaf Clovers: a Finder's Guide

Picture of 4-leaf Clovers: a Finder's Guide

I find four-leaf clovers frequently, even when not explicitly looking. Many find this "gift" extraordinary, and even though this mutation is reported to only occur once in about 10,000 clovers, getting lucky isn't as hard as one would think.

Step 1: Background: the Clover

Picture of Background: the Clover

4-leaf clovers are a mutation of the usually 3-leafed White Clover plant, Trifolium repens. One clover is actually one leaf of a larger plant, with 3 leaflets. Mutations can occur due to a low frequency recessive gene or environmental causes. Often the reason for mutation is differentiable from one clover to another. The mutation does not stop at the 4-leafed variety: 5-leafed clovers are not uncommon. However, the more leaflets, the harder they are to find (and the luckier they are): the record is an 18-leaf clover, and the highest I've ever seen is 10-leafed.

Step 2: Patterns, Patterns, Patterns

Picture of Patterns, Patterns, Patterns

First, find a large patch of Clover, which isn't hard to do if you have a lawn or live near a park.

Do not get on your hands and knees with magnifying glass in hand, individually examining each clover. From standing height, look over the entire patch, brushing the clover with your foot to ensure none remain unexposed. If you enjoy math problems, eye-spys, the game "SET", or any pattern game in general, you'll be in your element. Amongst all the sets of 3 leaflets, any mutation will stick out like a sore thumb.

Step 3: Statistically Speaking...

Remember, 78% of all statistics are made up. So even though they say there is only one 4-leafer in 10,000 clovers, thats not entirely the whole story. One clover is just a member of one White Clover plant, which can cover from a few square inches to a few square feet. And some plants are more susceptible to mutation than others, so if you find one, look hard in the near vicinity. Several of the mutants pictured in the following steps were all found within a few square inches.

Mutant clovers are also more prevalent later in summer than they are in spring, and some places just seem more environmentally favorable to produce mutants.

Step 4: The Shamrock

Picture of The Shamrock

The following steps show a few typical mutants so you know what you are looking for.

The Classic 4-leaf clover has, well, 4 leaflets. Most mutants have three leaf stems in which one has split into two leaves, one usally smaller than the other. These types are probably produced by evironmental factors more than genetic factors (not that genes don't play a part). Clovers with 4 leaflets, evenly shaped, and 4 seperate leaflet stems are, from my experience, rarer, and probably strongly genetically influenced.

Note: There are a few companies that have tried to breed 4-leaf clovers to sell for their alleged lucky properties. Due to the complications between environmental and genetic influence, these breeds are tough to produce, and only marginally effective, or so i've read. heres one of these companies.

Step 5: 4 + N Clover

Picture of 4 + N Clover

5, 6, 7, and so on -leaf clovers are rarer the more leaflets they have, but really stick out. Some have the attributes of several different kinds of mutants and can be really interesting.

Step 6: 3.5 Leaf Clovers, Color Variants, and "spades"

Picture of 3.5 Leaf Clovers, Color Variants, and "spades"

Some clovers (not very exciting, but pretty rare) have a mitten shaped leaflet due to conjoined leaves. You can tell they are conjoined by looking under the leaflet and noticing that it contains two stems (see below). Even rarer: sometimes part of conjoined leaf breaks off, with a little leaf sticking like a "thumb" off the mitten (sorry, no pic)

Some clovers will also have a "rust color". This is probably due to an inability of this clover to produce green chlorophyll in the leaflets, showing the less dominant red, yellow, or brown hues, much like how leaves turn colors in fall. Unlike deciduous plants, however, I've noticed this discoloration through out the year.

"Spade Leafed" clovers are a mystery to me. These clovers exhibit a strage shape of each leaf which reminds me of the shape of a spade. At first i thought it was due to insects, but the pattern is too perfect and insects too hungry to always produce this shape. Must be a mutant!(?) Weird...

Step 7: The Elusive 2-leaf Clover

Picture of The Elusive 2-leaf Clover

O MY GOSH!! Just kidding, someones just messing with you. Though technically, its possible. Though tough to prove...

Step 8: Collecting and Displaying

Picture of Collecting and Displaying

I made a simple press to collect my clovers using two pieces of scrap wood and 4 machine screws with wing nuts at each corner. I placed duct tape on the inside of the press to make it easier to slide the note cards i used to seperate and label the clovers in and out. Sticking them in between two cards in your wallet works as well, but be prepared to have your credit card number etched into a leaf.

For mounting, I used a poster-sized picture frame (~$10) and the back of the promotional poster that came in it. I glued my dried, pressed clovers using a dab of elmers glue. Try to keep the mount as air tight as possible, as the clover's will loose their color over time.

Last summer i put this skill to the test: i found 166 4-leaf clovers, 11 5-leaf, and 2 3.5 leafs. After mounting these, i found one patch while mowing the lawn containing multiple 7 and 8 leaf clovers, as well as a 10 leaf.

All of the clovers pictured in this instructable were found in about 20 minutes of searching. They're out there, in many mutant combinations, so get looking and get lucky!


LightningRocketSoul (author)2017-12-03

I have not found a 4 leaf clover or above after looking for 30 minutes in my school field, anymore ways to find?

HugoT (author)2017-07-31

Great to see a long-lived Instructable like yours. I just came here after my son gifted me a four-leaf clover he found.

Punchabearinnamouf (author)2009-03-16

Dude I have the gift too, like my grandfather. I'll just be walking along and grab one and people are like "What are you doi.... WTF?!" Must be the Irish heritage! haha I find em all the time in our side yard but I live in the middle of nowhere

I'm ASIAN and I'm an expert clover hunter.

This is about 8 years too late, but if it makes you feel better, by far the BIGGEST 4 leaf clovers I have found were in the Chengdu Panda Park in Sichuan, China. They were a good 2.5-3" across easily.

Archive555 (author)57cadillac2010-03-18

I'm pretty sure he was just joking.

Book Girl (author)2015-07-09

I found 10 in 2 days

newjaclion2288 (author)Book Girl2016-03-19

I have a big patch of shamrocks/clovers in my garden. I hope a can find a four leaf clover!

AmazingEpicB (author)Book Girl2015-08-26


amy.hitchcock.54 (author)2015-04-18

I have found that they grow in groups as well. If you find one keep looking in same area. I have found up to 5 next to each other. How I also found a 7 leaf clover.

marty.willoughby.5 (author)2015-04-07

i found a four leaf clover and a six leaf clover yesterday outside in the yard. 4/6/2015. then outside getting some sun, found 12 four leaf clovers and 5 five leaf clovers today hope its alots of luck . this time last year found the same in my back yard. ive moved since then . really need some luck. hope it comes for me and my kids, since we lost my husband and mother n law too Cancer.

Horse lover759 (author)2013-04-13

I found my first four leaf clovers today. I found 4 of them. I want to keep them and laminate them but don't want them to get ruined. Does anyone know the best way to laminate it without it being ruined?

i bought a laminating machine from walmart about 30.00 put them in book or between paper towels for just a day make sure they are flat them laminate them ive got some back from 1997 that still look great

idk but i guess just get like you know um the plastic baggies and put it in there

lllostlori64783 (author)2015-03-26

also a little FYI on finding clovers i take my foot and skim the top of patch 4leaf have thicker stems and often stand straight up give it a try

lllostlori64783 (author)2015-03-26

hi,have a question for someone/anybody yesterday at work i found clover stem that has 7 (yes i said 7 different clovers on it some small rest medium size.i found about 2500 or more clovers most of which i laminated, Just wondering how commom this is ive found 2&3 on the same stem but never 7 ,found in fayetteville,ga

camio11 (author)2012-08-11

I live in New Zealand and I spent an hour looking for 4 leaf clovers and I did not find 1, are they harder to find in NZ. (P.S I AM 11)

jess.gessner (author)camio112015-01-26

I live in NZ too, and I found one yesterday!

dcbeher (author)2014-10-19

oct. 17,2014 found two covers royal oak, micigan, one 11 leaf, one 39 to 41 leaflet can't tell for sure, clovers.appears to be differant variety clover than trifolium repens.

rtakeall (author)2014-10-12

I found three 5 leave clovers today and found 3 earlier this week! I have about 10 so far that I've found in the last month! Actually, my dog Sable found them.

christophe.stevens.1829 (author)2014-08-01

An easy way to get a four leaf clover consists in buying it!

That's my lazy way..heheh

They even propose business cards, key rings, letter... Great

beaglemaster (author)2014-06-24

I made the mistake of putting this one in my wallet between 2 dollar bills and the ink transferred onto the leaves. That is a U.S. quarter for size comparison. Found in August of 2012

SynCallio (author)2014-06-05

You use the same method I do: look for patterns! I started finding four-leaf clovers (and five, six, and seven-leaf clovers) in high school. I usually just stand over a patch of clover and stare at it, looking for breaks in the pattern. I don't know how many I've found: never as many as 166 in one year, but enough.

ineedhelp136 (author)2013-04-25

i am 10 and i think i found a four leafed clover but im not sure i think its a weed but idk

jkershaw (author)2012-08-30

hi all how exciting to find so many people talking about these special clovers in 1 place! as a kid i spent hours/days/weeks etc looking for 4leafed clovers...anyway i carried on believing they didnt exist. i now know better! ive found over 80x4leafed about 6x5leafed & 1x6leafed. the most perfect 4xleafed i found i immediately laminated . . DO NOT DO THIS! it went in green & came out brown haha! they definately "call" to me when theres 1 to be found i get a feeling & go out the back & generally straight to it! yesterday 2 of my friends thought i was mad when i started looking saying "theres a 4xleafed clover to be found i can feel it". i didnt find it as i had to go out but today had the feeling again & found 2x5leafed clovers! ps-i immediately text messaged my 2 concerned friends!!!

Luckygirl23 (author)2012-05-10

Today I found 10 four leaf clovers and 2 six leaf clovers.. I must be a lucky girl. I stuck them in a heavy book to dry. Is that what most people do?

amy m short (author)2012-04-25

amy m short (author)2012-04-25

amy m short (author)2012-04-25

amy m short (author)2012-04-25

i have 4 - four leaf clovers growing together

laurfrances (author)2012-03-29

Is a 4 leaf clover the same as a 4 leaf shamrock (oxalis?) Is this also lucky?

sharon mcrath (author)2012-03-23

my dad and i were outside and i said there is only 1 4 leaf clover in every patch we looked for no more then 30 sec and he found one and i said its good luck and not to let me touch and put it somewhere safe so he put it in his wallet

nmedel (author)2011-06-27

I just found a four-leaf clover today!!! How do preserve it?

awaard (author)nmedel2011-07-03

I do:

1. Flatten them with your thumb.

2. Put it on a piece of paper and fold it in half.

3. Put it in a heavy book and wait about a day.

18arnot (author)awaard2012-03-18

thts all...really isnt there more you need to do...jw

aquilablanka (author)nmedel2011-06-28

Hi, Im also a finder, i have a reasonable amount now, the latest being a 6 leaf, I just have keep them in a book and seems to be ok. I am planning to get it laminated, i think this would be the way, but mind that i am new to this.

Botyard (author)2012-03-15

Actually the record is now a 21 leaf clover found by the same person...

WUVIE (author)2012-02-04

Wonderful Instructable, thank you so much for sharing this! Great job!

shiftyswifty (author)2012-01-08

i found a four leaf clover in this old 1934 Edgar A. Guest poetry book. What does this mean??

MimMim18 (author)2011-10-28

the Irish believe that while finding a four-leaf clover will bring you good luck, finding a clover stem with 5 or more leaves is actually unlucky!
So to everyone whos bragging bout finding 5 leafs or more you have BAD LUCK lol.

Lucky Irene (author)MimMim182011-12-15

That is not true. Leaf number 5 stands for MONEY as the other leaves means: Love, Hope, Faith and Luck. However, any additional leaf on clovers are really mutants among the clovers. Finding 4 leaf clovers makes people happy that it is something special. Sites like this brings people together. Have fun. From Lucky Irene

rrivera13 (author)2011-12-03

Irish Luck is ours! We did it! - lol

jpage9 (author)2011-11-10

i found 1 four leaf clover the other day at school, i was really excited! but it was small and ugly :( i didnt think to look around it for another, hmm maybe i will go back to that spot :)

MimMim18 (author)2011-10-28

ive found 2 four leaf clovers in 2 day! and havent even looked for them.. and there were both right outside my front door! x

Lexiz (author)2011-07-23

Im 12 years old and iv been looking for a four leaf clover for special reasons
1. I want to have a four leaf clover plant.
2. there is a special portal to see faries with the four leaf clovers
3. I really just want it to find faries! Im in love with faries and i really found ways of talking to them but i NEED a four leaf clover
how do i find one? i liv close to the beach so i dont know were to find one please help me out

Lucky Irene (author)Lexiz2011-08-14

Hello Lexiz,
I want for you to keep on believing in faries..Our hopes and wishes are made up on dreams. Unfortuntitly we live in a world of Good and Bad, Angels and Devils and we even have to put up with Ugly Trolls in their rude remarks...
I can honestly tell the world, I have always been very lucky to find 4, 5 and even 6 leaf clovers my entire life and I've never stopped to look for a single one.
They always seem to find me. I've given away many of them to people who believe in the clover's GOOD LUCK for what ever reason on why.. they wanted one. You may contact me at:
and I will personally mail you a real 4 leaf clover.
So Lexiz, PLEASE keep your Dreams Alive and BELIEVE in anything that makes you feel happy. I hope to hear from you. Sincerely from, Lucky Irene

Lexiz (author)Lucky Irene2011-08-21

:) okay i just have to ask my mom if its okay with her and thx for your kind advise (:

Lucky Irene (author)Lexiz2011-09-29

Here I am on the front page of our local newspaper. I've given many away and I still have yours Lexiz when you want one or anyone else that wants one too. Best Wishes to all that need a little hope. From Lucky Irene

MisterTroll (author)Lexiz2011-08-06

Faries do not exist. A plant doesn't open a portal. And clovers with four leaves do not make more; picking one will kill it, like tearing it's arms and legs off.

Lexiz (author)MisterTroll2011-08-21

Say what ever you want to say i can think what ever i want to!

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