Few people know but our national flower is endemic Iris croatica. This beautiful flower is just now in full bloom and can be seen by the roads, in the hillside, in the woods of Croatia… Just today we went on a trip to the hinterland of Sibenik and this flower was everywhere! It is protected and please don’t pick it!
The Croatian name for this flower is perunika and it comes from the name of Perun. In Slavic mythology, Perun is the highest god of the pantheon and the god of thunder and lightning. His other attributes were the fire, mountains, the oak, iris, eagle … The legend has it that perunika grows only where Perun’s lighting strikes the ground.
There are about 15 iris species in Croatia and about half are endemic and all are protected. Back in the year 2000. the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences proclaimed perunika Croatia’s national flower.