- Proclaimed the state flower in 1901
- Texas State Wildflower Day is celebrated every April 24
- Burnet, Texas calls itself the “Bluebonnet Capital of Texas” and hosts an annual Bluebonnet Festival the 2nd week in April
- Bluebonnet Trivia: It’s also known as buffalo clover, wolf flower (from the Latin Lupinus) and el conejo (the rabbit)
- Violet trivia: The common meadow violet is the most common one of the 400 species of violets.
While most sources currently list Lupinus texensis as the Texas State Flower, the state government expanded the definition in 1971 to include all native species of bluebonnets. Good thing, because the largely indistinguishable varieties of the beautiful blue flower blanket most of central Texas for much of the spring. Picking out which ones to honor might be a little tough for an amateur. But the two main species, Lupinus texensis and Lupinus subcarnosis grow only in Texas, earning the bluebonnet’s recognition as the state flower.
Photo by David R. Tribble
The Texas state flower is so loved throughout the state that Texans feel it’s as much a part of the local culture as cowboy boots and Stetson hats. In the early days, missionaries gathered the seeds of the wild bluebonnets and planted them around their monasteries, giving rise to the myth that the plant was brought over from Europe. But bluebonnets are mentioned in pre-Columbian Native American folktales, and there is solid botanical evidence that the flower is indeed an indigenous species. Named for their color and a shape similar to a sunbonnet, the bluebonnets blossom in March and reach full bloom in April. They’re easily found in fields and along roadsides throughout central and south Texas.
Texas, in fact, was the first state in the nation to plant flowers alongside the state highways, so bluebonnet flowers are drivers’ constant companions as they motor through central Texas. Even so, the state has established a number of specially designated Bluebonnet Trails in areas where the flowers are especially abundant, many around Austin , the state capitol. Flower lovers from Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and even out-of-state visitors can all be found following these trails in the spring, stopping to take photos and picnic among the bluebonnets.
Austin is also home to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Based at the University of Texas at Austin, the Center has 16 gardens of native plants and flowers and is open to the public. It holds a library of information on 17,000 native species, and hosts many educational events for flower and plant lovers. Needless to say, the bluebonnet is well- represented at the Center. One thing you might learn at the Center is that if you’re planning to grow bluebonnets in your own yard, the best months to plant are September and October, though even August and November will generally work depending upon on your local climate. You can expect them to grow to 12″ to 14″ tall anywhere the soil is well-drained, even in hanging baskets and wooden barrels.
Texas State Flower Sources: