Bells of Ireland
The flowers are part of the mint family and have a spicy scent. They do not originate in Ireland, despite their name, but are native to Western Asia, Turkey and Syria. Even so, they are often found in St Patrick’s Day floral arrangements. They are also found in bridal arrangements and in churches decorated for weddings.
Most clover plants have only three leaves. The official “four-leaf clover” comes from the white clover plant. It is claimed that only one in 10,000 white clover plants develops four leaves. This scarcity may account for the association of the plant with good fortune. The enduring belief in the effect of the plant as a good-luck charm is such that many people wear charms with four-leaf clovers fixed into them.
In Europe, Gypsy women often make their living selling lucky heather door to door. The association of white heather with luck may have its popular origin in Victorian England, when all things Scottish became very fashionable. The Highland Scots had always used white heather for medicinal purposes. This, along with its scarcity, may account for the plant’s association with good luck.
In India, sweet basil is a sacred herb, ranking alongside the better-known lotus. It is often given to new homeowners as a gift to attract good fortune. Some people believe that if a sprig of basil is placed in a cash register, it will attract customers. In Mexico people carry basil in their pockets to attract money.
Bamboo arrangements are now an integral part of most feng shui arrangements. Bamboo is said to be most lucky when received as a gift. The rapid growth and indestructible nature of bamboo is reason that it is considered lucky. Plants with healthy green leaves and shoots are the ones that are considered luckiest.
Another name for larkspur is delphinium; it is a native plant of Europe. It is said to be named after Delphi, a sacred temple in Ancient Greece, dedicated to the sun god Apollo. While the Greek gods could be capricious, to be favored by Apollo was considered to be a great blessing. In England the plant’s root was also used to make love potions.