Four leaf clover, Marsilea quadrifolia, is a herbaceous perennial fern used as a leafy green with medicinal properties in some parts of Asia. It looks just like a 4-leaf clover. I don’t know if it brings luck but in has been shown in clinical studies to have anti depressive and mood enhancing properties.
European water clover (USA), water Shamrock (UK), marsilea, sushni (India)
Four leaf clover is found eastwards from central and southern Europe to Japan. It has been naturalized in the northeastern part of the USA.
Height: 20 cm (8 inches)
Width: 40 cm (16 inches) with a spreading habit
Leaves: divided in four, resembling 4-leaf clover, green, erect, hairless (glabrous), closing at night
Root: Creeping rhizomes
Four leaf clover has a high water requirement and can grow fully submerged in a pond or aquarium, semi submerged in the shallow edges of a pond, and in a pot with wet soil.
Hardiness: Zone 5 (UK)
Propagation: Spores. The plant produces sporocarps which, when soaked in water, swell and burst to release the spores.
Germination: The spores germinate immediately after being released from the sporocarps. The first roots and shoot appear in 2-3 days.
Spacing: 40 cm (16 inches)
Soil: Sandy or loamy, permanently moist or wet. It can grow in water.
pH: Acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils
Exposure: Shade, partial shade (light woodland). Full sun if the soil is consistently moist or wet.
Garden Design: Four leaf clover is an excellent addition to a pond or bog garden.
Use it fresh as a vegetable
Steroids, saponins, alkaloids and other polyphenols. Total alkaloid, phenolic and saponin contents were found to be 19.3 mg g⁻¹ and 158.5 ± 1.02 mg g⁻¹ as gallic acid equivalents and 2.63 mg g⁻¹ of the extract, respectively. (Source)
Anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cooling, depurative, diuretic, febrifuge,
Sweet, slightly bitter
MEDICINAL USE OF FOUR LEAF CLOVER
In Indian folk’s medicine, four leaf clover is known as sushni and has been used traditionally as sedative and antiepileptic drug in India where it is also used for insomnia and other mental disturbances.
Studies have shown that four leaf clove may be useful in the management of Alzheimer’s disease.
Used internally for:
- Relieving oxidative stress
Four leaf clover is known in Bangladesh and West Bengal as sushni. It’s sold in vegetable markets as a leafy vegetable as it is cheaper there than prescription medications. It’s cooked and made into a paste and eaten like chutney. It is also eaten raw in salads or prepared as spinach.