Iris cengialti f. vochinensis ("Iris of Bohinj") is certainly one of the most beautiful flowers we can admire in Bohinj and it is considered as its botanical specialties. Due to its beauty and rich blossoms it has been planted in the gardens as well. It is rightly the trademark of the International Wild Flower Festival.
The iris has been connected with many traditions and beliefs since the prehistoric times. A special meaning has been given to it as early as in the times of Minoan culture at Crete. In the Ancient Egipt it was considered as a flower of kings and the Ancient Greeks gave it the name of the goddess Iris (the origin of the Latin name) – the goddess of the rainbow, connector of the Earth and sky.
The Slavic nations connect this flower with the god of the sky and lightning "Perun" or his wife "Perunika" (the origin of the Slovenian name of the flower). In some places the belief is kept until nowadays that the rootstock of the iris protects a home or a person from the strike of a lightning.
As early as in the Ancient Greece the plant was already used in medicine and up to now its aromatic fragrant rootstock is being used in cosmetics – as a perfume.
In the Middle Ages iris was considered a symbol of knighthood – its distinctive three petals symbolise faith, wisdom and nobleness.
It is interesting that iris symbolises martial virtues and heroism in Japan as well. In addition the Japanese in some places still preserve the belief that iris protects from lightning and storms – that is why sometimes it is planted on the roofs of the houses!