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Texas BluebonnetsOur Look At The State Flower Of Texas
The state flower of Texas is the bluebonnet.
The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and the tulip to Holland.
Bluebonnets in Texas are a major Spring attraction. They grow along many state highways, and are truly spectacular. Bluebonnets typically bloom until the end of May when temperatures get warm. They tend to peak in mid-April.
Blooming along with the bluebonnets are Indian paintbrush, Indian blanket and coreopsis.
Texas Bluebonnet History
As the state flower of Texas, bluebonnets have an interesting history. Texas actually has five state flowers. They are all bluebonnets. Here is how it happened.
In the spring of 1901, the Texas Legislature got down to the serious business of selecting its official state flower. The ensuing floor debate was hot and heavy. One state legislator spoke emotionally in favor of the cotton boll since cotton was king in Texas in those days.
Another, a young man from Uvalde, extolled the virtues of the cactus so eloquently, noting the hardy durability of the plant and the orchid-like beauty of its flowers, that he earned the nickname of "Cactus Jack" which stuck with him for the rest of his life. He was John Nance Garner, and later became vice president of the United States under Franklin D. Roosevelt.
At the end of the day, the National Society of Colonial Dames of America won. Their choice was Lupinus subcarnosus ("generally known as buffalo clover or bluebonnet," stated the House resolution) and it was passed into law on March 7 without any recorded opposition.
Thus began the Bluebonnet Wars.
Lupinus subcarnosus is a dainty little plant which paints the sandy, rolling hills of coastal and southern Texas with sheets of royal-blue in the early spring. But some folks thought it was the least attractive of the Texas bluebonnets. These individuals wanted Lupinus texensis, which is a showier, bolder blue beauty which covers most of Texas and gives inspiration to many an artist.
So, off and on for 70 years, the Legislature was encouraged to correct its oversight. But legislators weren't about to get caught in another botanical trap, nor did they want to offend the advocates of Lupinus subcarnosus. As seen often in the political world, a solution was hammered out.
In 1971, the Legislature handled the dilemma by adding the two species together, plus "any other variety of bluebonnet not heretofore recorded", and lumped them all into one state flower.
Among the many things the Legislature did not know then was that the state of Texas is home to three other species of Lupines. The umbrella clause makes all five of them the state flower. And, if any new species are discovered, they automatically will assume the mantle of state flower as well.
Texas is so large and grand, that we cannot have just one state flower.
The five state flowers of Texas are:
We have more bluebonnet photographs in a special set on our Flickr account.
Have more bluebonnet pictures? Feel free to share them on our message board.