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BLUEBONNET

BLUEBONNET. On March 7, 1901, the Twenty-seventh Texas Legislature adopted the bluebonnet, flower of the annual legume Lupinus subcarnosus, as the state flower. The flower's popular name derives from its resemblance to a sunbonnet. It has also been called buffalo clover, wolf flower, and, in Spanish, el conejo ("the rabbit"). On March 8, 1971, the legislation was amended to include L. texensis and "any other variety of bluebonnet not heretofore recorded." At least four other species of bluebonnet grow in Texas: L. havardii, L. concinnus, L. perennis, and L. plattensis. Contrary to various folk stories and legends claiming that the plant originated outside the state, L. texensis and L. subcarnosus are native to Texas. In 1933 the legislature adopted a state flower song, "Bluebonnets," written by Julia D. Booth and Lora C. Crockett. Also in the 1930s the Highway Department began a landscaping and beautification program and extended the flower's range. Due largely to that agency's efforts, bluebonnets now grow along most major highways throughout the state. The flower usually blooms in late March and early April and is found mostly in limestone outcroppings from north central Texas to Mexico. Its popularity is widespread. Although early explorers failed to mention the bluebonnet in their descriptions of Texas, Indian lore called the flower a gift from the Great Spirit. The bluebonnet continues to be a favorite subject for artists and photographers, and at the peak of bloom, festivals featuring the flower are held in several locations.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Jean Andrews, The Texas Bluebonnet (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986). Donovan Stewart Correll and Marshall Conring Johnston, Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (Renner, Texas: Texas Research Foundation, 1970). Billie Lee Turner, The Legumes of Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1959).

Jean Andrews

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Jean Andrews, "BLUEBONNET," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/trb01), accessed April 24, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.