Thanks to the efforts of Lady Bird Johnson, widow of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, wildflowers grow in abundance along Texas highways. Texas bluebonnet is the star attraction each spring, according to Bloomberg. Besides its colorful show, this cold hardy legume adds nitrogen to Texas soil.
The name “bluebonnet” refers to five different species of the Lupinus genus; some varieties feature pink, white and lavender blossoms. Blue-spiked, white-tipped Lupinus texensis is the most famous bluebonnet, often depicted in artwork and travel brochures.
Plant bluebonnet seeds in the fall, so that the roots can develop during the cooler months. Before sending up flower stalks in the spring, bluebonnet plants form low-lying rosettes. Bluebonnet blossoms reach their peak in March and April.
Each bluebonnet variety grows best in a particular region of Texas. Lupinus plattensis thrives in the Texas Panhandle, while Lupinus havardii grows in the Big Bend region, according to Texas A&M University.
In 1901, the Lupinus subcarnosus variety became the official Texas state flower. In 1971, the Texas Legislature added other bluebonnet varieties to the title.
Each spring, towns and cities all over Texas hold bluebonnet festivals. According to Bloomberg, 50,000 tourists typically attend a two-week festival in Ennis, a town with a population of only 19,000.
- Photo Credit Bluebonnets 4 image by Olivia Ogden from Fotolia.com