Web Extra
A Slew of Blue
A bluebonnet is a bluebonnet … until you really get to know them

Texas bluebonnets.
IMAGE: Kathryn8 | iStock.com

The original state flower of Texas was a bluebonnet, but critics said the species, Lupinus subcarnosus, wasn’t worthy of the title. So lawmakers declared all varieties of bluebonnet as the official state flower, including the more popular Lupinus texensis.

You don’t have to speak Latin or be a horticulturist to fully appreciate Texas bluebonnets, which aren’t even always blue anymore.

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A bluebonnet is a bluebonnet … until you really get to know them


Lupinus texensis

Common names: Texas bluebonnet, bluebonnet, Texas lupine, buffalo clover, wolf clover, el conejo

This is our state’s most recognized bluebonnet that’s planted along roadsides. The annual, which has 6- to 18-inch stems, occurs in the state’s Blackland Prairie and Edwards Plateau regions.


Lupinus subcarnosus

Common names: Sandyland bluebonnet, Texas bluebonnet

This annual bluebonnet with 6- to 16-inch stems was named the first state flower in 1901. It grows in sandy loams found in southern Central Texas down to northern Hidalgo County.


Lupinus concinnus

Common names: Annual lupine, bajada lupine, Nipomo Mesa annual lupine

This tiny annual lupine with reddish-purple flowers and 2- to 6-inch stems occurs in the Trans-Pecos region.


Lupinus havardii

Common names: Big Bend bluebonnet, Big Bend lupine, Havard bluebonnet, Chisos bluebonnet

This annual bluebonnet with 1- to 3-foot-tall deep-blue flowering spikes grows in the Big Bend.


Lupinus perennis ssp. gracilis

Common name: Sundial lupine

An uncommon perennial bluebonnet that’s found in southeastern Texas.


Lupinus plattensis

Common names: Nebraska lupine, dune bluebonnet, plains bluebonnet

This perennial bluebonnet reaches 2 feet tall and grows in the Texas Panhandle’s sand dunes.

Web Extras

The Legend of the Bluebonnet

Check out The Legend of the Bluebonnet, published in 1926 by botanist Mary Daggett Lake of Fort Worth. The 12-page booklet touches on the legislative debate in 1901 that led to the bluebonnet being declared the state flower of Texas. Lake, who promoted soil conservation, highway beautification and other botanical causes, briefly discusses the plant’s biology, too.

 

Best Wildflowers for Where You Live

The Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Kingsville offers native seed mix recommendations for Texans based on where they live and type of soil. Get started here.

 

Ennis in the Spotlight

Since 1951 the Ennis Garden Club and the city of Ennis have invited visitors to tour 40 miles of mapped bluebonnet trails in and around the city, south of Dallas. In 1997 the Legislature declared Ennis as the Official Texas Bluebonnet Trail and Bluebonnet City of Texas.

 

Bluebonnet Color Varieties

(Shoppers beware: Many of these are not currently available commercially.)

Abbott Pink: Named for Carroll Abbott, who championed Texas wildflowers.

Alamo Fire: Introduced by Wildseed Farms and horticulturalist Jerry Parsons.

Barbara Bush Lavender: A variety of Texas bluebonnet selected by Jerry Parsons.

Grant’s Maroon: Named for horticulturalist Greg Grant.

Henry’s Red: Named for Henry Verstraeten, a San Antonio vegetable grower.

Lady Bird Johnson Royal Blue: Selected by Larry Stein, Jerry Parsons and R. Daniel Lineberger.

Prairie Angel: Introduced by Wildseed Farms and Jerry Parsons.

Purple Heart: Introduced by Douglass King Seeds and Jerry Parsons.

Texas Maroon: Developed by Jerry Parsons and Greg Grant, it’s also called Aggie Maroon.

Worthington Blue: Named for the Worthington Hotel in Fort Worth.

 

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers, a member of Pedernales EC, has counted more than 50 wildflower species at her Blanco home.

TAGS: Nature, Outdoors, Texana


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