Žuka: Plant Once Crucial for Mediterranean People

By , 25 May 2020, 13:50 PM Photo of the Week
Žuka: Plant Once Crucial for Mediterranean People Žuka, Photo by Antonela Stjepčević
May 25, 2020 - The rugged landscapes of the Mediterranean, in the spring, are interspersed with shrubs of a beautiful plant of robust and yellow color - Žuka (Spartium Junceum), which gives an attractive, colorful decoration to the hilly configuration of the coastal terrain, and provides the air with a note of its pleasant and unobtrusive scent. It is a real treasure to enjoy the colors and smells of nature. And, in addition to waking up spring in the rocks, according to folklore, the intoxicating scent of Žuka also wakes up spring in humans. That is, it allegedly has potent aphrodisiac properties.
 
Žuka was a beneficial plant in the past. Its flexible stems were used as raw materials for high-quality fiber, which was the basis for the production of numerous useful items such as clothing and footwear, fishing nets, ropes, and the like, and growers used it to tie vines.
For hundreds of years, the Žuka protects the lean, rocky soil from erosion, supplies it with oxygen, and gives birth to large green bushes full of yellow flowers. But that is not the only benefit. The inhabitants of the Mediterranean immersed the flexible stems of the beetle in the sea and took out a white thread from them, from which they made a cloth. Žuka was also a precious raw material from which hard-working women worked hard to make household items - clothes, shoes, bedding, baskets for olive mills, various baskets for agriculture, fishing nets, sails, bags.
 
Last year, the NGO "Women of Bar with a Big Heart" and the Bar Educational Center launched a project to popularize Žuka and the ancient skills of its use. Organizers are also planning the establishment of international cooperation to promote this beneficial plant growing throughout the Mediterranean.