Image Source: Wikimedia Commons. By: Kenraiz.

Today is a day for busting out all the green clothing you can find and celebrating all that is Irish. Parades are happening, taverns and pubs are overflowing, and many places (and even people) are decorated with shamrocks.

Well, perhaps everywhere but Ireland itself.

It may sound strange that the country St. Patrick’s Day is all about would not have the most iconic symbol associated with the holiday (apart from Leprechauns). However, it’s with good reason—or, perhaps, a rather bad reason. Right now, Ireland is actually going through a shamrock shortage. Severe winter weather tore through the Celtic country and as such, that means less of the great, green plant.

Dr. Declan Doogue, a botanist of the Royal Irish Academy, also notes that the shamrock has been under threat for a while from modern farming methods, which discourages its growth. Usually, the well-known plant will grow quite abundantly in the wild; but given the very real shortage issue, many consider it a severe problem—some even associate it with climate change.

To compensate for those wishing to “wear the green” this year, fake shamrock plants are being used. That is to say, they are similar to the traditional shamrock, but not the same plant. Though I’m sure those who are truly devoted will be able to spot the fakes from the real Trifolium dubium with ease.