Texas’ Legendary Bluebonnets

Bluebonnet Legend


Texas historian Jack Maguire wrote that “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.”
The average Texan merely boasts that the Bluebonnet, with its intense blue, is the most alluring flower in all the world.
As our state flower, Texas Bluebonnets have an amazing history, and there are actually five different Bluebonnets: Lupinus subcarnosus; Lupinus texensis; Lupinus Havardii; Lupinus concinnus; and Lupinus plattensis.
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. It is often referred to as the Sandy Land Bluebonnet.
Bluebonnets at Christ Church, Conroe, Texas 02063The favorite of tourists and artists, which provides the blue spring carpet of Central Texas is Lupinus texensis. It is widely known as THE Texas Bluebonnet.

Lupinus Havardii, is known as the Big Bend or Chisos Bluebonnet, and is the most majestic of the Texas Bluebonnet tribe with flowering spikes up to three feet.

Lupinus concinnus is a small Bluebonnet with flowers which combine elements of white, rosy purple and lavender. It is found sparingly in the Trans-Pecos region, blooming in early spring.

Last, but not least, Lupinus plattensis comes 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. It normally blooms in mid to late spring and is also known as the Dune Bluebonnet, the Plains Bluebonnet and the Nebraska Lupine.
Many tales and legends have been told about our state flower, chief among them the “Polite Bluebonnet War” which started between the National Society of Colonial Dames of America and “other folks” after the Lupinus Subcarnosus was named the official state flower.
During a period of some 70 years, Texas Legislators were urged to pick the Lupinus Texensis instead. But, in typical political fashion, they named both of them plus “any other variety of Bluebonnet not heretofore recorded,” and lumped them all into one state flower.
Texans love their Bluebonnets, and photos of these delightful flowers have been taken with all kinds of props — barbed wire, old barns, open fields, fences, antique farm implements, Longhorn cattle and, of course, children … lots of children. And, myriad artists have rendered Bluebonnets in oils, watercolor, colored pencil, pastels, chalk, stained glass needlepoint, and every imaginable art form.

If you haven’t been out driving around in the past few days, you’ve missed out on the sudden burst of sapphire-colored Bluebonnets springing up alongside the roadways.

So, grab your camera and hit the road!