Like Texas’ own form of Groundhog Day, seeing bluebonnets begin to appear across the grassy knolls as the weather becomes warmer is the silent announcement of winter’s end and spring’s beginning.
What many Texans might not know, however, is the rich history behind the Lone Star State’s iconic flower.
The bluebonnet was officially adopted as the state flower of Texas on March 7, 1901, by the 27th Texas Legislature following a series of heated debates.
For many Texans, the cotton boll seemed an appropriate choice given the history of cotton production in Texas, while others saw the cactus as an iconic symbol of Texas culture.
In the end, however, the bluebonnet was chosen for its vibrant beauty and unique presence in Texas.
Nevertheless, the battle of the bluebonnet was far from over.
A new debate ensued off and on in the Texas Legislature for nearly 70 years about which type of bluebonnet should be chosen as the official flower.
Should it be the lupinus subcarnosus variety with its more delicate beauty found throughout the coastal and southern regions of Texas or the more bold, iconic beauty of the lupinus texensis variety?
In 1971, the legislature finally solved this debate once and for all by designating all varieties of the bluebonnet, of which there are five according to Texas A&M University, as the official state flower of Texas.
Sweeping across the Hill Country, prairies, and vast farmlands of Texas after blooming in mid to late March or early April, the flowers named for their stunning royal blue color and resemblance to a sunbonnet, span the entirety of the state from North Central Texas all the way down to the southern border.
Also known as buffalo clover, wolf flower, and el conejo in Spanish, bluebonnets can be found along highways and interstates due in part to the Texas Highway Department’s landscaping and beautification programs of the 1930s.
A true embodiment of Texas pride, no other location in the world naturally grows bluebonnets other than the state of Texas.
Though these are strange and uncertain times, the blossoming of bluebonnets remains a steadfast reminder of the beauty of Spring, the resolve of Texans, and the hope of good things to come in the near future.
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Sarah McConnell is a reporter for The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Cyber Security Consultant after serving as a Pathways Intern at the Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M as well as her Master of Public Service and Administration degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. In her free time, Sarah is an avid runner, jazz enthusiast, and lover of all things culinary.