The humble clover is an insignificant-looking plant. City dwellers might regard it as a weed or perhaps have a chuckle at the superstitious association of the occasional four-leafed variety with good luck. Yet clover changed the course of European history, and the link with good fortune is an important one: it has come to symbolise a sustainable system of feeding humanity.

Plants take up water through their roots, and carbon dioxide from the air via microscopic pores in their leaves and stems. Using these two basic ingredients in a chemical reaction that is powered by sunlight, they create ...


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