The Flower That Made a Superhero
The purple blooming fields of lavender are one of the signature images of Hvar island, and its products, from cosmetics to essential oils, make for wonderful souvenirs. But the shrub has only been on the island since the 1930s. At the time, the misunderstood visionary barba Borta, aware of the plant’s many qualities, had to put up with teasing for commercially planting “flowers and weeds.”
Yet by 1974, Hvar was the eighth producer in the world by quantity. For visitors today, the late June/early July harvest is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as is the concurrent Festival of Lavender in Velo Grablje village. But the significance of the flower is best illustrated by the fact that Hvar’s own superhero is named after it. Lavanderman, a comic book and film character, fell into a pot of distilling lavender oil, gaining superpowers such as seduction and repelling mosquitos.