Four-Leaf Clover

Trifolium repens L.

Listen to the Podcast

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

Scientist-in-training Summer Praetorius has an unusual skill—she is really, really good at spotting four-leaf clovers (Trifolium repens L.). A single gene causes the normally three-leafed clover to produce a fourth, supposedly lucky, leaf. As it turns out, good science depends on both close observation—a skill Praetorius uses to spot tiny shelled animals called foraminifera—and a little bit of luck. Ari Daniel Shapiro explains.

Photo Credit:KEBman

Harvard MCZThe One Species at a Time podcast series is supported by the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology.

Learn More


Is there an organism you have a knack for spotting or observing? Tell us what it is and why it is interesting to you.

Here are some of the responses we have gotten so far!

  • Myxomycetes! Because I love to sit in the woods and pull apart decaying logs! (so I see lots of little ascomycetes too!) (Twitter: @MycoFun)
  • indigenous stingless bees (Melipona - Trigona) (Facebook-Massimo Tosco)
  • patience is key; stop, look, listen. the world will open as a result (Twitter @backyardbeyond)
  • Velvet Worms, early morning look 4 glue (Twitter@stits)

Now it's you turn! Let us know by emailing us!

Thanks for contributing!

< Back to main podcast page.

Encyclopedia of Life Learning + Education Group | Museum of Comparative Zoology | Harvard University
26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA | 617-496-6764 | education [at] | Notices & Credits