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Flower as a guide: Yellow, fragrant ‘Brnestra’ reveals Ližnjan in the spring

Flower as a guide: Yellow, fragrant 'Brnestra' reveals Ližnjan in the spring

Brnistra in Ližnjan (Photo credit: Latinka Janjanin)

A flower as a guide – the yellow and fragrant Spartium Junceum or  Spanish broom reveals the Municipality of Ližnjan in the spring

The mystical beauty of its flora can be attributed to the most preserved holm oak forests, endless Eumediterranean pastures, numerous species of Orchids, and endemic and protected plants. Despite this natural splendor, the recognizable symbol of the Municipality of Ližnjan remains a modest, most beautiful, bright yellow, and fragrant Spartium junceum.

Flower as a guide: Yellow, fragrant 'Brnestra' reveals Ližnjan in the spring

(Photo credit: Latinka Janjanin)

Although the Spartium Junceum or Spanish broom (Junceum – meaning rush-like) is widespread and enriches a spring scenery along our coastline, there is a special bond between the Municipality of Ližnjan and this modest, wild plant as reflected in the landscape abundant with Spartium bushes, its historical significance as well as the fact that it adorns the official coat of arms of Ližnjan. Visit south-east Istria in the pre-season when, in the tranquility of the awakened spring, Spartium turns into an extraordinary guide taking you on a fragrance adventure.

Flower as a guide: Yellow, fragrant 'Brnestra' reveals Ližnjan in the spring

(Photo credit: Latinka Janjanin)

SPARTIUM JUNCEUM (Croatian: BRNESTRA) – DECORATION IN THE COAT OF ARMS OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF LIŽNJAN

Ližnjan was first mentioned as Lisianum as far back as 1149, and we can easily imagine that this resilient plant decorated the nature of this area even then.

The plant has numerous positive characteristics – its shrub can grow up to 3 meters, has a life span of up to 25 years, loves the intense sun, and is resistant to strong winds, drought, and low temperatures. Its’ branched roots protect the soil from erosion. 

Flower as a guide: Yellow, fragrant 'Brnestra' reveals Ližnjan in the spring

(Photo credit: Latinka Janjanin)

After World War 2, the plant significantly alleviated economic hardship to the inhabitants of southern Istria and the Municipality of Liznjan. As it was abundant and its fibers resilient, the farmers used it to make bags, ropes, carpets, and even shoes, clothing, and sheets. It used to be and remains essential to beekeepers as its honey flowers attract bees.

Therefore, it is no wonder that Spartium Junceum earned a place in the official Coat of Arms of the Municipality of Ližnjan-Lisignano, but also in the name of the local municipal utility company Liznjan Brnestra (Ližnjan Spartium Junceum).  

Flower as a guide: Yellow, fragrant 'Brnestra' reveals Ližnjan in the spring

MARLERA PENINSULA -– LAVISH BUSHES FOR THE BEST PHOTOS 

The intact nature of the Ližnjan Municipality and a large number of sunny hours the Spartium Junceum recognized as its home so that every May its bushes gratefully spread throughout the area, creating with the yellow color of its flower a beautiful contrast to the blue sea and sky as well as green landscapes.

It is slightly less widespread in the coastal areas covered with holm oak forests, but there is a location where you will come across scenes worthy of magazine covers. The most attractive site with Spartium Junceum bushes is a picturesque peninsula of Marlera extending from the bay of Kuje to Kažela. A photogenic lighthouse with the same name waits for you on the mentioned peninsula. 

Flower as a guide: Yellow, fragrant 'Brnestra' reveals Ližnjan in the spring

(Photo credit: Gianni Tromba)

PEDESTRIAN-EDUCATIONAL TRAIL ST. STEPHEN (Sv. STIPAN)- SPARTIUM JUNCEA AND SIX PARTICULARITIES OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF LIZNJAN

According to the old folk tradition, the flower of Spartium Junceum contains a vigorous power that only works on women. When the Spartium blossoms, the plant releases the heady scents in May, and women become exceptionally seductive.

Whether this is true or a myth is not known, but one way of finding the answer is for you to walk the 10,5 km long educational pedestrian trail saint Stephen (Sv. Stipan) at the foothill and on the hill of Monte Madonna in Šišan.

Flower as a guide: Yellow, fragrant 'Brnestra' reveals Ližnjan in the spring

Sisan (Photo credit: 360 Provideo)

In addition to the informational billboard with plentiful peculiarities about Spartium Junceum, you will find another six educational tables that familiarize you with the natural and cultural values of this area: the Fort Monte Madonna, underwater meadows of Posidonia beds, Rudists, water wells, Orchids and holm oak, which has taken root along the port of Budava in the most beautiful and best-preserved forests in the Mediterranean

THE CORPUS CRISTI PROCESSIONS – A PATH SPRINKLED WITH SPARTIUM JUNCEUM PETALS 

A beautiful custom related to the Spartium Junceum is woven into the tradition of the villages of Ližnjan and Šišan. The month of June is the month of Processions on the occasion of the Feast of Corpus Cristi, and unique detail makes it even more solemn.

While the procession in Ližnjan has been intermittent, the one in Šišan has been held continuously. Both are characterized by women and young girls carrying the baskets and handbaskets full of Spartium Junceum they use to throw the petals along the way through which the procession is passing. Let us also note that the bright yellow flowers of Spartium Junecum were once used to fill the pillowcases and mattresses; in the past, they were used to make yellow paint, and today they are used to make oil that gets added to perfumes.   

Flower as a guide: Yellow, fragrant 'Brnestra' reveals Ližnjan in the spring

(Photo credit: TZO Ližnjan)

NESACTIUM – THE MOST POWERFUL STRONGHOLD OF THE HISTRIANS, WHO USED SPARTIUM JUNCEUM

Spartium junceum will take you to the most important archeological site in Istria, the Royal Nesactium. Stone remains of the most powerful Histrian stronghold surrounded by tranquilizing greenery are glowing with the special energy of fearless Histrians, who built their city so they could control the entire traffic from the port of Budava from northern Adriatic to the south.

Like the Liburnians, they used Spartium Junceum in households, nutrition, and clothing, and the plant played an important role in making flexible and resilient ships. Although they did not manage to save their city from roman attacks despite their strong and bold resistance, the story of Histrians and Spratium Junceum survives to this day. 

Flower as a guide: Yellow, fragrant 'Brnestra' reveals Ližnjan in the spring

(Photo credit: Gianni Tromba)

ARTEFACTO EARRINGS – SPARTIUM JUNCEUM AS AN INSPIRATION FOR A GIFT AND SOUVENIR 

How does one eternalize the beauty and particularity of Spartium junceum? How does one enjoy their flowers year-round? Many artists found inspiration in Spartium Junceum, including the Artefacto brand that bases its exceptional handmade jewelry on Croatian natural and cultural heritage motives.

After visiting the Municipality of Ližnjan, jewelry designer Nataša Stanić Bellante preserved the blossoming butterfly-like flower of Spartium Junceum by transforming it into silver earrings she makes in three variants; silver, gilded, or in recognizable bright yellow color.

Flower as a guide: Yellow, fragrant 'Brnestra' reveals Ližnjan in the spring

Artefacto earings in the shape of the flower 

Thanks to the cooperation of Artefact and the Tourism Office of LIžnjan, all visitors registered with the e-Visitor system and all inhabitants of the Municipality of Ližnjan, the jewelry with motives of Spartium Junceum are available at a 20% discount from June through September, i.e., 15% discount for yellow earrings that require more time and effort to make.

The guests qualify for discounts by presenting a registration certificate issued by an e-visitor by the Tourist office Ližnjan, i.e., based on proof of residence for the domicile population. They need to be sent to [email protected] or via the FB page @artefacto.zagreb and Instagram profile @artefacto.hr

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