The bluebonnet became Texas’s official state flower in 1901. The legislation includes any type of native bluebonnet, but Lupinus texensis is easy to grow and has showy white tipping, so it is a favorite with most Texans. Texas bluebonnets are native lupines that grow all over the state and are related to peas and beans. The flower grows wild and is planted near highways creating colorful views in spring. Some Texans also cultivate bluebonnets in their gardens. How tall a plant gets is dependent on growing conditions. With the right mixture of bright sunshine and rain, the plants grow quite tall. In drought years, they’re normally close to the ground.
When conditions are favorable, bluebonnets germinate in the fall, producing a round of leaves, each usually made up of five leaflets. These grow slowly over the winter and bloom in early spring. The blossoms grow on straight stems. Each stem produces many small flowers, which are each made up of five petals. The largest petal is upright and round. Two of the smaller petals are wing-shaped and grow forward. The lower petal is sharply forked and also grows forward. Flowers give way to gray-green spikes, which contain the seeds. These are round with one pointed end and have a hard seed coat that gets worn down by wind and rain before the seed can germinate.
ALSO KNOWN AS
Buffalo clover, wolf flower, el conejo
Duration: Annual Plant: Palmate leaves with 5–7 leaflets, straight stems with a long cluster of flowers at the top Mature Height: 6–12 in (15.25–30.5 cm) Flowering: March through April Flowers: .4–.75 in (1–2 cm) long Flower Color: Blue with white tip Leaves: Gray-green, fan shaped, usually 5 pointed leaflets Fruit/Seed Color: Gray-brown
Location: Prairies and grasslands Range: Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Florida
The bluebonnet flower is so named because it is supposed to resemble a pioneer lady’s sunbonnet.
Bluebonnets are common today in part because of the efforts of former first lady Lady Bird Johnson, who encouraged the state government to plant native wildflowers, including bluebonnets, along highways and roads.