A Blue, Blue Texas Summer

If you’ve ever driven along any Texas highway, you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing seas and seas of Texas’ state flower, the Bluebonnet.

The Bluebonnet is said to resemble a women’s sunbonnet in the color blue, hence the name. It is scientifically named the Lupinus texensis and was adopted as the official state flower by the Texas Legislature in 1901.

However, according to Aggie Horticulture, Texas actually has five state flowers, all of which are bluebonnets. Some people didn’t think the Lupinue texensis bluebonnet was pretty enough to be the state flower, so in 1971, the Legislature added “any other variety of bluebonnet not heretofore recorded” and lumped them all into one state flower.

The five state “bluebonnet” flowers of Texas are:

  • Lupinus subcarnosus grows naturally in deep sandy loams from Leon County southwest to LaSalle County and down to the northern part of Hidalgo County in the Valley and reaches peak bloom in late March.
  • Lupinus texensis, the favorite of tourists and artists, provides the blue spring carpet of Central Texas and is the easiest of all the species to grow.
  • Lupinus Havardii, also known as the Big Bend or Chisos Bluebonnet, is the most majestic of the Texas bluebonnet tribe with flowering spikes up to three feet. It is found on the flats of the Big Bend country in early spring.
  • Lupinus concinnus produces flowers which combine elements of white, rosy purple and lavender. Commonly known as the annual lupine, it is found sparingly in the Trans-Pecos region, blooming in early spring.
  • Lupinus plattensis sneaks down from the north into the Texas Panhandle’s sandy dunes. It is the only perennial species in the state and grows to about two feet tall and blooms in mid to late spring.

“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.” – historian Jack Maguire.

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