National Wildlife Week: Wild Wednesday’s Green Mutants!

from Wildlife Promise

What’s with clovers with four leaves?

Four leaf clovers are actually a mutation of the typical three leaf white clover Trifolium Repens. White clovers are not restricted to just four leaf mutations—they can have five, six, or more leaves. In fact, a clover discovered in Japan holds the Guinness World Record of most leaves ever discovered on a white clover (18 leaves!).

The white clover is a non-native member of the pea family Fabaceae. I personally haven’t had any Irish luck finding four-leaved mutants, have you?

For some people, St. Patrick’s Day is customary pea-planting time. At NWF, we have our own take on the March 17 tradition—on this wild Wednesday, we’ll be thinking about planting native peas in our spring wildflower gardens.

There are many species of native pea that bring color and pollinators to gardens throughout late spring and summer. Peas are often pollinated by bees, and the plants will also attract Western and Eastern-Tailed Blues, Little Yellows, Cloudywings, and Orange Sulphur butterflies. In the article Gardeners Pick Their “Gold Medal” Favorites, you can see lots of photos of native plant champions for your garden.

Here are a few of the native peas that may bring luck to your wildflower garden this year:

Partridge Pea

Wild Indigos

Eastern and Western Redbud

Black Locust (but only in the Southeast; can be invasive in other parts of the country)

Silvery Lupine

Why garden for wildlife? Check out naturalist David Mizejewski’s video to find out. Have a wild, wonderful St. Patrick’s Day and National Wildlife Week! Come visit again tomorrow to read about Thursday’s Tiny Treasures.

References:

Guinness Book of World Records

Guild of Natural Science Illustrators’ List of Butterfly Species and Host Plants

Montana Native Plant Society