A little bit of hope and luck

EEB321 Blog Post

This photo is of a four-leaf clover from my back yard in Pensacola, FL. The species name of this clover is Marsilea quadrifolia, an endangered species that was once prevalent in the Iberian Peninsula and other parts of Europe and Asia. This is an aquatic species that can root in water or moist soils and when rooted well, they can even reach a foot in height. These clovers have become endangered because of the rising temperatures in their nature habitat. Sadly, as temperatures have risen, the soil has become drier and less fertile.

Photo 1: Leaf veins

For the past couple of years my mom had been growing the clovers in a clay pot on our porch, along with a lot of herbs. When schools closed last spring and we were sent home, I took it upon myself to start caring for all the plants. I kept them alive through the hot summer and they are all still thriving despite this year being the most active hurricane season in recorded history.

Even though I have watered this plant most mornings, I have not spent a lot of time examining the leaves up close. Each of the photos on this post shows a different perspective of the vasculature of the leaves. I did not expect the veins to appear as clear as they did when magnified this much, since they seemed more opaque at first glance. The chlorophyll looks very interesting as well. Looking at the circle photo on the right, I am curious if the blue spot is part of the plant or just an artifact from when I plated the sample.

I decided to pick this plant for a blog post because 4 leaf clovers are representative of good luck and hope, and I think everyone could use a little bit of that right now. Despite being an endangered species, this clover has found an unexpected “niche” sitting in my backyard in Florida. In a time of climate change, a pandemic, and countless other stressful events happening, I like to turn to nature for little symbols of perseverance.

I conducted this project as part of Professor Pringle’s EEB321 class at Princeton University.

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