The Texas' State Flower
The official state flower of Texas is the bluebonnet, a bluish-purple flower that is found mostly in Texas.
The bluebonnet—or what is commonly referred to as the Lupinus texinsus in the scientific world—gets its name perhaps because of its color or its resemblance to the sunbonnet, a popular women’s headwear in the nineteenth century. In the past, it has also been referred to as buffalo clover and wolf clover.
The bluebonnet’s road to official recognition was a bit rockier than most—Texas reportedly had up to five state flowers contending for the position at one time. When decision time came in 1901, a legislator argued passionately that the cotton ball should gain official status, because cotton was king in Texas and Texas was king of cotton.
Another recommended the cactus, seen as a suitable sign of Texas because of the vast desert scape that covers much of the land in Texas. However, the bluebonnet eventually won out and on March 7th was officially declared the Texas state flower.
Description and Characteristics
The bluebonnet flowers in the early spring. Its flowers grow in stalks, the upper tip of the stalk tinted in white and sometimes yellow. Petals grow on the stalk individually, and are said to resemble a sunbonnet because of their curved shape.
The flowers typically grow along roadsides (where water often gathers) and in fields throughout southern and central Texas.
It is fairly resistant to cold weather--it rarely freezes at night--and because of the high amount of nitrogen deer rarely eat it, thus making it abundant. Different color strains, white and pink, also exist, although in much smaller quantity.
Cultivation and Care
Because the bluebonnet needs time in order to flower, they need to be planted in late September or October, ensuring that they will bloom come spring. The bluebonnet needs both the cold weather, to develop its root system, and warmer weather, to allow the seed to germinate.
The seeds are flat and round, like a flattened pea. The bluebonnet seed is somewhat unique in that only a fraction of the seeds will actually germinate. Bluebonnets need to be planted in moist soil, need plenty of sunshine, and a moderate amount of water.
Click thumbnails to see pictures: