Bluebonnet Season!

From late February to April it’s bluebonnet season here in Texas. Nothing steals my breath faster than a field covered with Texas Bluebonnets. They’re simply breathtaking. Each spring folks load into cars and tour busses to go on see the bluebonnets in the Hill Country just like the people in the northeastern states take tours to view the spectacular fall foliage.

Bluebonnets2

 

But although I’ve lived in Texas most of my life I found out some things I never knew that I’d like to share.

Bluebonnets are only found growing in their natural state in Texas and no other location in the world. That means they weren’t brought in from somewhere else by the early settlers. Bluebonnets are as well known as the shamrock is to Ireland and the cherry blossoms of Japan.

Texas Bluebonnet2

 

You may know that the bluebonnet is the state flower of Texas and has been since 1901. But did you know there are five different species and that choosing the state flower started a bitter dispute that wasn’t finally settled until 1971? Arguments ensued over which variety was going to be declared the proper state flower. The Texas Legislature finally settled the dispute by declaring that any and all varieties of the bluebonnet are the state flower. (The pink flower in the picture below is Indian Paintbrush.)

Texas Bluebonnet

 

The “lupinus texensis” variety is the most common and the one most visitors see when they come to Texas. It has pointed leaflets and the flowering stalk is a breathtaking blue with a white tip. But less common ones grow in pink, rosy purple and royal blue and there’s even a solid white bluebonnet.

 

The profusion is dictated by the amount of rain and germination in the fall, long before they pop their heads out of the soil. In times of drought the amount of bluebonnets is considerably less. Although bluebonnets need heat to germinate the seed, cool weather is crucial to develop the complicated root structure.

Indian Paintbrush & Bluebonnets

Indian Paintbrush & Bluebonnets

Bluebonnets are very difficult to grow in gardens and pots. They cannot tolerate poorly drained, clay based soils. And they need lots of direct sunlight. Guess that’s one reason they grow so well here in Texas. We have oodles of sunshine.

 Other common names for the flowers are buffalo clover, wolf flower and el conejo (Spanish for “the rabbit”.)

Usually found blooming amid patches of bluebonnets are Indian paintbrush, Indian blanket, and coreopsis.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not illegal to pick them. I hope you enjoyed this look at the bluebonnet. We’re very proud it chose this state in which to shower us with its beauty.

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About LindaBroday

I'm a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of western historical romance. I love stories of the old West and the people who once lived there. I haunt libraries and museums and can hang out in them for hours. To tell all the stories that are in my head would take a lifetime.

Comments

Bluebonnet Season! — 8 Comments

  1. I love Bluebonnets, they are my favorite flower. Since I moved to Kansas, I’ve tried planting them, but have had no luck. I guess they truly are a Texas tradition. I miss not getting to see their magical beauty. Thank you for sharing the Bluebonnet’s history.

    • Hi Tonya……Thank you for coming. Bluebonnets are really picky. They just prefer Texas soil and somehow they know the difference. Just strange. Glad you enjoyed my blog and the smile my pictures brought.

  2. When my husband and I first entered Texas years ago right after we were married, the blue bonnets were all in bloom. It was a beautiful sight. As we left Texas the following year, the blue bonnets were in bloom again. It was a wonderful memory for me.

    • Hi Sarah…….I’m really glad I could spark a beautiful memory for you. They are truly awesome flowers. My heart gets a little catch in it when I’m driving down the road and see a field of them. Although we don’t get them in profusion here in the Panhandle like other parts of Texas. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I love seeing pictures of bluebonnets and I loved learning more about them. Thank you, Linda! We have Indian Paintbrushes up here in Canada (or at least we do in the province of Alberta where I grew up), but I guess I’ll have to visit Texas to see those bluebonnets 🙂

    • Hi Jacqui……Thanks for coming. I always smile when I see your name. How interesting that Indian Paintbrushes grow up in Canada. I love it! But yeah, you’ll have to come to Texas for bluebonnets. Come on ahead! We’ll roll out the welcome mat.

      Hugs, my friend!

  4. The Bluebonnets are beautiful, I have seen pictures of them but have never seen a true field of them. I know for sure they want grow where I live we have to much clay in our soil. The past few years I haven’t even had much luck growing tomatoes. This past year it was to wet and I am not sure what this next year will bring.

    • Hi Quilt Lady……So happy to see you. Thanks for coming. I’m glad you enjoyed my pictures. This flower is truly beautiful and we’re counting our blessings that they love Texas soil. Sorry about your tomatoes. Maybe this year will see a bumper crop! Wishing you lots of luck!